Annual Conference: Collaboration and its Impact
Venue: Innovation Birmingham, Faraday Wharf, Holt St, B7 4BB
Date: Thursday 9th November 2017
Historically grant making approaches have promoted competition based on a view that this drives up quality and cost effectiveness. Interest in collaboration has grown of late and it being seen more and more as a means to achieving greater efficiency, effectiveness and impact for the third sector. More funders are realising that individual efforts may not be enough to address complex social problems, in a climate of reduced funding and public sector cuts. There have been collaborative initiatives and opportunities taken between funders and donors and between funders and applicants as a means to increase impact.
Rachel Rank, Chief Executive, 360 Giving provided an insight into how data as a resource can support collaborative approaches. The role of 360 Giving is to enable grant makers to publish their grants data openly, to understand their data and to use the data as part of a more innovative and informed approach to grant making. GrantNav was launched in September 2016 and is the only freely available source of comparable grants data in the UK. Currently 51 funders have uploaded their data and Birmingham City Council will be one of the first local authorities to add their grant data to the platform in November. Rachel provided an example of the level of grant making in the West Midlands by using Grantnav. This has provided useful data for funders as well as grant seekers in identifying where grant resources are going. This is an important starting point. However, the data does not necessarily tell you whether the funding achieved the outcomes. Rachel highlighted three challenges for the sector: Though the technology is available, the technical capacity of the third sector is low; there are not set rules on sharing data, and within the sector do we all want the same behaviour change. A copy of her presentation can be found here.
Emma Cooper, Consultant, Measurement and Evaluation, New Philanthropy Capital presented collective impact as a collaborative approach to addressing complex social issues. New Philanthropy Capital is a think tank and consultancy working to transform the charity sector. Collective impact is an approach that builds from a belief that urgent challenges faced by society mean that we can no longer depend on the isolated efforts of individual organisations or interventions. Isolated efforts have been a traditional approach by funders and grant seekers. With collective impact there is a need to engage a large number of stakeholder organisations, requires a process of ongoing facilitation, where comparative performance metrics need to be developed that meet shared goals, and an underpinning ethos of learning across all stakeholders to increase effectiveness. Emma particularly referred to the need of ‘backbone support’ that is neutral and skilled in facilitation, mediation and conditions for shared learning. An example of a placed based collective impact project supporting children and young people in 3 square miles of inner West London was provided. Emma highlighted some challenges for using collective impact: when would a collaborative impact approach work; what constitutes ‘neutrality’ for a backbone organisation and how can they be best resourced, and how can trust be developed within a sector to allow open communication. A copy of Emma’s presentation can be found here.
Within the smaller roundtable discussions that followed the presentations Austin Rodriquez, Birmingham City Council Health and Social Care Commissioning Manager facilitated a discussion on a model of cross sector collaboration focused on ‘place’ – Partners in Neighbourhoods and Communities hub (PiNCh). Debbie Pippard, Barrow Cadbury Trust, facilitated a discussion on funders collaborating with applicants towards social change – Organisations supporting migrants and refugees in Birmingham and the Black Country. Claire Maggs and Claire Williams, Big Lottery Fund, facilitated a discussion on collaboration between funders and drew upon the lessons learnt from Lloyds Bank Foundation and Big Lottery working on increasing reach to small and medium sized organisations, building capacity and reducing the application process. Pauline Roche, RnR Organisation facilitated a discussion on the role of data in improving the decision making of funders and how data can be shared in a collaborative approach.
Further Resources and Publications
Collaboration and Collective Impact– how can funders, NGOs and governments achieve more together?
Geoff Mulgan (2016)
Funder Collaboration: Is it worth it? – The Child Sexual Exploitation Funders’ Alliance (2016)
Data for the community – a look at how data assets are being used at a local level – Power to Change (2017)
How to develop a funding Model– Social Leadership, Australia 2014
Measuring Change A Conference Report: A Collaborative Approach to Outcomes
Valuing Data – How to use it in your grant making (2016)
Standards of Evidence– An approach that balances the need for evidence with innovation (2013)
Impact Measurement Approaches– Recommendations to Impact Investor (2008)
Stanford Social Innovation Review – recent thinking and learning about how to use the collective impact approach to address large-scale social and environmental problems.