The world around philanthropy is changing much, much faster than philanthropy itself. An intimidating range of forces--globalization, shifting sectoral roles, economic crisis, and new technologies--are changing both what philanthropy is called upon to do, and how donors and foundations will accomplish their work in the future. For philanthropic and civic leaders looking to cultivate change in today's rapidly shifting landscape, simply tweaking the status quo won't be enough. Funders will have to pioneer "next practices"--effective approaches that are well-suited to tomorrow's more networked, dynamic, and interdependent context.
With this in mind, Monitor Institute is pleased to announce the publication of What's Next for Philanthropy: Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked World. The piece updates our 2005 report, Looking Out for the Future, and represents more than a decade of work by the Institute in exploring the evolving "future of philanthropy." It highlights the changing context in which funders now operate, and identifies ten emerging next practices that can help funders of all sorts increase their impact over the coming decade.
Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, What's Next for Philanthropy argues that while the cutting edge of philanthropic innovation over the last decade has been mostly about improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and responsiveness of individual organizations, the next practices of the coming 10 years will have to build on those efforts to include an additional focus on coordination and adaption--acting bigger and adapting better.
To apply these approaches in your own organization and philanthropic efforts, use any of the links on the left to download the report or its accompanying do-it-yourself innovation toolkit.
As the centennial anniversary of the community foundation form approaches in 2014, the What's Next for Community Philanthropy initiative aims to engage the field in thinking about and re-imagining the community foundation model-in a way that builds on past successes and explores new approaches and possibilities for serving communities in the future. The project is led by Gabriel Kasper, a senior consultant at Monitor Institute, a think tank and consultancy focused on philanthropy and social change that now operates as part of Deloitte Consulting LLP.
This website will provide periodic updates on the status of the research and links to new materials related to the project. Join the What's Next community mailing list to stay informed and learn about additional opportunities to participate.
There is growing interest in the role of market-based solutions in addressing the problems of poverty, through inclusive businesses that tap into the potential of the global poor as customers and suppliers—the so-called 'fortune at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).' Encouraged by the growth of microfinance, many promising new models are emerging. This has elicited a rush to the new field of 'impact investing'—producing social or environmental good as well as financial return—with hundreds of funds set up in just a few years and billions of dollars waiting to be invested.
But many investors report that they are struggling to find good opportunities in which to invest for impact. Why is that? Will impact investors really be able to take new models for inclusive business all the way from idea to scale? Meanwhile, philanthropic and aid funders are asking how they should engage with these market-based solutions. How should they harness the full potential of this early experimentation? If impact capital is the key to scaling these solutions, what then is the role of philanthropy?
Our research paints a clear picture: impact capital alone will not unlock the potential of impact investing for the global poor. Because of the extreme challenges facing those who are pioneering new models for inclusive business, truly realizing the impact in impact investing will require more, not less, philanthropy, and will need that philanthropic support to be delivered in new ways.
If you would like to further discuss the themes described in the report or provide feedback, please write to the team at email@example.com.
The United States’ single greatest collective investment in human capital—and in its future generations—is public education. Yet today that investment is generating very poor returns for low-income students.
Members of the lowest-income U.S. families are 10 times less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than members of the highest-income families. This situation would be troubling in any environment, but with income inequality only increasing and global job competitiveness intensifying every year, it is downright dangerous—not just for low-income students but for society at large. While a field-level conversation about the college access, persistence, and completion challenges that face low-income students has been slow in coming, we believe that conversation is now imperative.
This report outlines the problem, the state of the field, and how to collectively intensify the ways we address these pressing challenges:
To find out more, read the full report.
Given the scale and complexity of the challenges they face, foundations increasingly need to look beyond their organizations to other stakeholders--both in philanthropy and across sectors--to mobilize sufficient resources and effort to move the needle on pressing social problems. Yet working together remains a challenge: simply knowing what other funders are supporting can require time-consuming research, meetings, and calls.
As one foundation executive recently explained, "When funders come together for a day to talk about an issue, we spend 80 percent of the time talking about what we do, which leaves us with only 20 percent of the day to discuss what we could and should do in the future."
The Strategy Landscape™, created by Monitor Institute and delivered with the Center for Effective Philanthropy, aims to turn this ratio on its head. Developed with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Landscape is an online, interactive data visualization tool that makes it easy for users to see and understand patterns of grantmaking and strategies across multiple funders. Participants are able to see and develop a shared understanding of the larger funding landscape that they are a part of, and to recognize their position within that ecosystem. More specifically, the tool can help:
The initial prototype of the Strategy Landscape™ was completed in early 2010, and illustrates grantmaking related to climate change by more than a dozen funders. Over the next 12-18 months, Monitor Institute will continue to expand the climate change Strategy Landscape™. At the same time, Monitor Institute and the Center for Effective Philanthropy will be working with interested funders to develop Strategy Landscapes™ of additional issues/locations to pilot test the visualization tool further.
Experience a demonstration of the Strategy Landscape™ for yourself
Please note that the data appearing in this map is purely illustrative. While the taxonomy of strategies and geographic areas of activity are real, the data is not real and is associated with fictitious foundations and foundation strategies. This "dummy data" is intended only to provide a sense of the tool's functionality, not for analysis of any climate change related grantmaking or foundation strategies.
GATHER is a hands-on guidebook for all convening designers and social change leaders who want to create convenings that tap into a group's collective intelligence and make substantial progress on a shared challenge.
It provides simple frameworks for the questions that are often ignored: whether convening is the right tool to use to advance a strategic agenda, and how a convening can be used to achieve a specific purpose. It then helps readers understand how to customize the design to fit that purpose, laying out a clear series of steps for what is a naturally chaotic workflow. It then offers principles to use for each of the many tactical choices involved.
Drawing on input from 70 expert convening practitioners from across the social sector and decades of published work, GATHER is provided by Monitor Institute and Rockefeller Foundation as a public resource to spread the practice of using convenings as a lever for deep, systemic social impact. GATHER and its accompanying workshop materials are designed for you to use in your own work, with your team, and with larger groups both inside and outside your organization.
One inspiration for this work was the forthcoming book Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change, by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon. Look for it in bookstores in February 2014.
Take a moment and read these two words: strategic plan. Now close your eyes and picture one. If what comes up is a thick binder, gathering dust on a shelf next to other thick binders from five and ten years past, you’re not alone. We believe that a better understanding of the history of strategy and what caused the demise of binder-bound strategic planning can point the way to re-inventing strategy for the world we live in today.
In the social capital movement today, there is tremendous excitement about the potential for business models to create social impact, and about the impact investors seeking to deploy capital into these models. However -- as described in the recent 'From Blueprint to Scale' report published by Monitor in collaboration with Acumen Fund -- the reality is that many of these models are a long way from being able to absorb investor capital and begin to scale. In this keynote address to SOCAP 2012, Katherine Fulton addresses the role for foundations and aid donors in closing this critical 'pioneer gap', and what key questions they should consider as they approach this emerging practice of 'enterprise philanthropy.'
Katherine Fulton contends that philanthropy has the opportunity to create disruptive change -- and risks being disrupted itself if it does not.
Funders know they need big platforms with diverse players to tackle the complexity of 21st-century problems. They also know that to do this work well they need to act as conveners, champions and matchmakers, connecting people, ideas and resources - in addition to getting money out the door. This means investing in more than discrete programs and more than individual organizations. It means catalyzing networks.
While grantmakers have deep experience cultivating networks of all kinds - such as coalitions, alliances, place-based initiatives, learning communities - there are few recognized best practices or established measures to prove they've achieved "network effectiveness" and 21st-century approaches to catalyzing networks are still being invented.
There is still much to learn, but this guide is an early attempt to create a rough map for the many individuals and foundations that are catalyzing networks in order to build and boost the impact of their philanthropy.
In our dynamic and increasingly digital world, the availability and use of credible news and information is one of the most powerful elements of community change. The Toolkit is designed to help community leaders better understand the local information ecology and take action to improve it. It offers a point of view, a process and a simple, easy-to-use set of tools to help community leaders advance their priorities through the lens of information--its availability, accessibility, quality and exchange.
For six years, the RE-AMP network—comprising 125 nonprofits and funders across eight states in the U.S.'s upper Midwest—has been focused on just one audacious goal: reducing regional global warming emissions 80 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2050. And it's working.
Much has been written about the power of networks to increase social impact. For nonprofits and funders that want to go deeper on the tactics of how to build an effective network, it is useful to understand how RE-AMP has done it. RE-AMP's process was well informed by decades of thinking related to systems dynamics and group facilitation. But what is new is the way in which RE-AMP combined these "best practices" with "next practices" to create a robust, resilient, and high-impact network.
The results speak for themselves. In just the past few years, the network has helped legislators pass energy efficiency policies in six states; promoted one of the most rigorous cap-and-trade programs in the nation; and, halted the development of 28 new coal plants. The network has also built the capacity of regional activists, increased funding for its cause, created a number of shared resources, and developed stronger relationships between funders and nonprofits.
Understanding just how RE-AMP accomplished this can give other groups interested in building a collective network to address a systems-level problem a roadmap to follow. During its two-month study of RE-AMP, Monitor Institute identified six key principles that RE-AMP members followed in building their network:
Developed in collaboration with Blueprint Research & Design, Inc., this report examines the changing environment for community philanthropy in the United States and its implications for community foundations. Other resources related to the future of community philanthropy project are available at www.communityphilanthropy.org.
"We shared On the Brink of New Promise with new board members and staff to let them know what direction we're going in. We part ourselves on the back for now having done a lot of things it recommended." --Kate Neilson, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
"Our organization was challenged by On the Brink of New Promise, and we used that work to dramatically transform the role our organization plays in our community." --Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
A growing group of investors around the world is seeking to make investments that generate social and environmental value as well as financial return. This emerging industry of impact investing has the potential to become a potent force for addressing global challenges. But how might it succeed or fail? Will it take the next five to 10 years? 25 years? Or will it not happen at all?
This report examines impact investing and how leaders could accelerate the industry's evolution and increase its ultimate impact in the world. It explores how impact investing has emerged and how it might evolve, including profiles of a wide range of impact investors. The report also provides a blueprint of initiatives to catalyze the industry.
The strategy was completed in January 2009 with lead funding and support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Funding was also provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
For five years, Monitor has partnered with Fast Company magazine to produce the Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Awards. The Awards served multiple objectives:
(1) to contribute to the growth and quality of the social entrepreneurship movement in the U.S.;
(2) to introduce a new population of business leaders to the principles of social entrepreneurship and the compelling results being achieved; and
(3) to develop and hone, in a practical laboratory, an approach to comparative assessment that might inform broader efforts to strengthen the social capital marketplace.
Global trends, from new technologies to dramatic demographic shifts, are combining to create a new context for philanthropy. This book—the culmination of a five-year exploration of the future of philanthropy—aims to help philanthropists understand what it means to give in a rapidly changing global and philanthropic landscape. Other resources related to the future of philanthropy project are available at www.futureofphilanthropy.org.
Cultivating Change, the companion white paper, examines the barriers to change in philanthropy and why the current moment holds new possibility for improving the field.
Nonprofits are in the knowledge business, whether they acknowledge it or not. This report provides a sampling of how three critical knowledge management tasks are done in the social sector: knowledge creation and knowledge organization, as well as knowledge transfer, sharing, and application.
A conceptual framework to help corporate foundations understand the array of options that are available for their giving and how uncertainties in the world around their companies might influence their choices.