Giving Compass’ Take:
• Jessamy Gould offers advice for small foundations working to foster social change based on learnings from the Treebeard Trust.
• How can your foundation shift your strategy to better achieve your mission?
Below I have listed some of the practical steps and thinking we have undertaken in our journey so far — and I stress that we are very much at the start of this process and in an ongoing state of learning and adapting.
1. Consider what role you want, and are able, to play. Knowing that we were never going to be a practitioner, the options we have played with at Treebeard include “leader”, “enabler”, “amplifier”. Treebeard’s current position is as an enabler. We won’t be launching campaigns or developing and testing new models of intervention, but we will be championing and trying to enable those who do.
2. Ensure that you and your trustees are aligned in how you think about social change: what it means, how it comes about and what you are going to do to make it come about.
3. Learn from experts — those who have been operating in the field of social change or system change for some time. This could include think tanks, other funders engaged in system change, practitioners or academics and researchers.
4. Consider and play to your strengths as a small funder. You are possibly able to provide highly flexible funding — in relatively short timeframes — to organizations who are having to adapt or respond swiftly to political agendas, seize opportunities, build capacity or re-structure.
5. Avoid funding organizations where successful programmes have been replicated without apparent progression in use of evidence, public awareness or influence on policy.
6. Ask the right questions but be aware that you may be told what someone thinks you want to hear.
7. Finally, look out for opportunities.
Read the full article about fostering change by Jessamy Gould from Social Finance UK at Medium.
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