ACTING BIGGER ADAPTING BETTER
• Understanding the ecosystem. Strong peripheral • Knowing what works. Despite the many evaluation approaches and tools
vision will be critical to building and coordinating available, it is still difficult to get a reliable answer to the question, “Did we make a
resources and to understanding a funder’s place and difference?” and to learn from the past in ways that can help guide and improve
role in a system. With the growing accessibility of efforts in the future. Effective measurement in the future will be fully
systems mapping, data visualization, and network contextualized, aggressively collective, real‐time, transparent, and technologically
mapping tools, it’s now possible to see a collective enabled.
whole that was previously only visible in pieces.
• Opening up to new inputs. Virtually every aspect of organized philanthropy’s
• Working with networks. Advances in network business can benefit from collecting outside input and external viewpoints. New
theory and practice now allow funders to be more tools and approaches now allow funders to solicit points of view from diverse
deliberate about supporting connectivity, cultures and perspectives, and to access new and wildcard ideas, get buy‐in and
coordinating networks, and thinking about how the engagement of stakeholders, and build the public legitimacy that comes with taking
collective impact of a portfolio of grants and activities the time to listen before taking action.
can produce change far beyond the success of any
single grant, grantee, or donor. • Shifting and adapting. Most funders have neither systematic feedback loops nor
mechanisms for adapting their processes and programs based on new learning.
• Aligning independent action. Funders can act The ability and willingness to change and shift behavior based on lessons learned
collectively without necessarily forming formal, in real‐time—either first hand or from others—will be critical to shifting behavior
consensus‐based collaboratives. There is a range of in the next decade.
new models for working together that fit different
needs and circumstances. Funders don’t necessarily • Taking risks and learning from failure. Exemplary funders in the future will
need to make decisions together, but they need their need to take risks and experiment with new approaches, learn quickly, and adjust
efforts to add up. as they go. The challenge is not to avoid mistakes. Failures are inevitable when
confronting wicked problems. The challenge is to “make only new mistakes.”
• Leveraging additional resources. Funders can use Funders that admit their wrong turns and share what they learn will advance the
their independent resources as levers to catalyze whole field in the process.
much larger streams of funding and activity from
sources outside philanthropy, stimulating markets, • Sharing by default. In a more crowded playing field, there is tremendous value in
influencing public opinion and policy, and activating reflecting on your work and conveying your lessons to others. For mission‐driven
new players and resources. organizations like foundations, it makes sense to start from a place of sharing
everything and then make a few exceptions rather than a place of sharing little
where transparency is the exception.