Giving Compass' Take:

• Stanford Social Innovation Review looks at how the value of funding collaboratives changed after the 2016 presidential election and explores the reasons why. 

• How else has the 2016 election changed philanthropy? 

• Read more about how strategic collaborative funding can lead to impact philanthropy. 

The field of philanthropy encompasses tens of thousands of funding institutions, as well as several hundred philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) and funder collaboratives. National and regional PSOs—such as Grantmakers in the Arts, Southern California Grantmakers, and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations—support learning and networking around specific issue and geographic areas, populations, or practices. Funder collaboratives, such as the immigrant rights-focused Four Freedoms Fund, help grantmakers align around specific priorities.

Why do we keep creating new affinity groups focused on ever-narrower priorities? What point does my regional association serve beyond hosting a pricy annual meeting I’m too busy to attend anyway? Funder collaboratives sound like a great idea, but are they really worth my time and the overhead?

These contradictory trends made our recent research, which revealed that funders quickly renewed their appreciation for PSOs and funder collaboratives directly after the controversial 2016 presidential election, all the more surprising. In fact, PSOs and funder collaboratives were the “first call” for many funders after election night; funders felt they were essential to enabling the grantmaking community as a whole to respond and adapt in ways that are often challenging for individual institutions.

Here’s a look at three ways PSOs and funder collaboratives have demonstrated their value to funders over the past year:

  • Accelerating action. Most of the PSO and funder collaborative leaders we interviewed began coordinating calls, webinars, and other knowledge-sharing opportunities immediately after the election.
  • Aligning support. PSOs and funder collaboratives provide ready-made structures for grantmakers to coordinate in ways that otherwise might not be possible.
  •  Enabling collective voices. Funders have long wrestled with whether, when, and how to make use of their “institutional voice” to advance an agenda.

Read the full article about funding collaboratives by Melinda Fine, Steven Lawrence, and Molly Schultz Hafid at Stanford Social Innovation Review.