Giving Compass' Take:

• Cecilia Conrad, Managing Director of Fellows and 100&Change, discusses the lessons learned after conceptualizing and completing the first challenge in the competition. 

• Although this competition applies to grantmakers, what are the takeaways for individual donors regarding lessons in philanthropy?

• Learn more about the 100&Change competition. 

There is also a sense that philanthropic organisations—foundations in particular—want to fund the next new thing, and want to be the only ones doing it. But what happens when the new things are no longer new? Or, when a once-new approach is found to be effective, where is the funding to scale it?

We realised that there was a space that needed to be filled.

In 2017, Bridgespan did a chart for us (MacArthur Foundation) that mapped out philanthropic gifts. It showed a lot of activity in the below USD 10 million segment. But between USD 10 million and USD 100 million, there were three dots on the graph.

The 100&Change competition—which seeks to grant USD 100 million to an organisation seeking to address a significant problem—was our attempt to create a product to fill this gap.

Having conceptualised, managed and completed the first challenge, here are some of our learnings from the process:

  • Listen to external voices
  • Help organisations refine their plans
  • Provide longer time frames
  • Put some structure in place
  • Identify possible risks upfront as best as you can
  • Ensure that the grant money is flexible and pays for all costs
  • Look at outcomes that are achievable within the time frame
  • Consider post-grant durability

Read the full article about lessons in philanthropy by Cecilia A Conrad at India Development Review.