At Common Counsel Foundation, we support, advise and manage donor advised funds and family foundations. It’s clear that an individual funder (and a small-staffed one no less!) won’t solve the world’s intractable problems alone. In fact, it will take a whole network of funders at the same table if we want to make progress.
As a foundation with a small team, funder collaborations are a key part of our DNA. They help us leverage our finite resources and better support communities in creative and responsive ways. Yet, all too often when I talk with other funders about collaboration, there are reservations.
Let me break down the common myths I hear about funder collaborations, so you can figure out how this valuable tool might fit in your toolbox.
Myth #1 – My foundation has no money to join a funder collaborative!
Some funder collaborations involve pooling or aligning grantmaking dollars, but the majority do not involve moving dollars at all.
Myth #2 – My foundation only has a small amount of money, so it’s better if we focus on our grantees.
I often hear this from small foundations who do not want to join an aligned or pooled funding collaboration. The reality is that as one foundation, there are only limited grantmaking dollars available. If you can make the case for funding within a funder collaboration, a small grant from one foundation can leverage many times more financial resources to a grant partner.
Myth #3 – My foundation hasn’t worked with these other funders before, so it won’t be productive.
Funder collaborations provide the perfect opportunity to build a bigger, more robust network of funders with whom you can interact and partner.
Myth #4 – Funder collaborations are too time consuming.
There are definitely times when funder collaborations can take a lot of time and effort. They do not always have to, though.
Myth #5 – My foundation is not part of a funder collaboration.
Although your foundation may not be part of a formal funder collaboration (either a learning network, aligned fund, or pooled fund), you are most likely engaging in informal funder collaborations throughout your day.
Read the full article about funder collaboration by Allistair Mallillin at Exponent Philanthropy.