Funder Collaboratives for Systems Change Gaining Momentum, Study Finds

Philanthropy News Digest | September 28, 2018

Funder Collaboratives for Systems Change Gaining Momentum, Study Finds
For funders seeking to create change at the systems level, collaborations can be more effective than going it alone, a report from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors argues. Based on interviews with three dozen individuals who work with or in funder collaboratives or organizations focused on achieving the kind of scale needed to create systemic change, the report, Scaling Solutions Toward Shifting Systems: Approaches for Impact, Approaches for Learning (48 pages, PDF), highlights many of the practices that have gained traction. Among them, the study found that successful collaboratives tend to be launched with a small number of funders with existing relationships and that they grow organically, which keeps the emphasis on creating learning and impact rather than negotiating process details; that they identify and support strong leaders; and that they are aligned on theory of change and are willing to embrace the complexity of systems change. The case studies in the report also found that funder collaboratives are interested in delving more deeply into monitoring and evaluation processes for assessing systems-level progress and are seeking more guidance with respect to measurement, and that they face many of the same obstacles including limitations on the duration of funding commitments, varying degrees of risk tolerance, different ideas about and approaches to what should be measured, and cumbersome reporting and relationship-building responsibilities.

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