Giving Compass’ Take:
• Christie George, writing for GrantCraft, explores how funders can go beyond traditional networks and adopt open grantmaking approaches to find innovative solutions.
• Why is it important for donors to diversify their funding portfolios and change their funding approach?
• Read about the practice of trust-based philanthropy and open conversations.
You’ve probably thought about the growing polarization in our country. You may share my worry about filter bubbles and political echo chambers, or you might have recommitted to sparking conversations with friends across the aisle. From our perspective, most people fund people and organizations they already know, moving money through referrals and established networks. But if we’re going to solve the big problems facing our world, we need to move beyond our personal echo chambers.
Here are two takeaways from our experience opening ourselves up to open calls, and the reasons why we hope other funders will consider similar approaches:
1) Big problems require new solutions (and diversity is not a “nice to have”). Funding exclusively through referrals can limit what funders see and increase the risk of confirmation bias…By having an open and transparent application process, heavily marketed to ensure we’re getting outside our own bubbles, we’ve made a tremendous impact on the diversity of our portfolio.
2) Less control over outcomes leads to more welcome surprises. When funders issue a request for proposals (RFP), we essentially define the terms of the discussion: we’ve often developed a strategy, and we’re looking for organizations to execute that strategy. We’ve found this requires us to be comfortable with uncertainty and develop the humility to stay in a learning mindset.
To sum it up, if you haven’t tried an open call, you might be missing out on amazing solutions beyond the usual suspects. If boosting innovation is one of your goals, we recommend starting small and collaborating with others to share the work. Consider carving out a portion of your grantmaking budget to fund projects selected through an open process, and remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Read the full article about funders finding innovative solutions by Christie George at GrantCraft.
Funding is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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