Are traditional assumptions about how we “do” philanthropy preventing us from finding new and better ways of working?
Success stories about social change rarely start with large guns. But, as it turns out, there’s a lot that philanthropy can learn from looking at the history of artillery—the cannons that would get drawn to the edge of a battlefield, first by horses and later by large trucks, to shell the enemy from a distance.
According to military folklore, shortly before World War II the US and British armies conducted a joint exercise and came to a strange realization: The American artillery team fired just a little bit faster than the British squad every time. They analyzed the process MORE ››
A recurring theme that has emerged in our conversations with nonprofits and social enterprises in recent months is the perception that, even as strides are made in cross-sector collaborations, a persistent power imbalance exists in partnerships with for-profit corporations. Social sector organizations clearly see significant benefits of partnering with a corporation – but they often struggle to articulate the value they bring to the relationship, in terms that resonate with their corporate partner. We have created a simple value exchange tool (download here) to help non-profits and social enterprises more crisply articulate the kinds of value they stand to offer for-profit partners and would expect to gain in return—one that we believe is valuable for business leaders as well. MORE ››
Innovation, it seems, is easier said than done. Despite growing interest in applying innovation methodologies to social sector challenges over the past decade, more often than not, philanthropic efforts to support innovation fall short.
That’s because the processes, strategies, and structures that funders need to deliberately seek out and support innovation are often quite different from the ones they use for traditional grantmaking—a lesson many funders learn the hard way.
In our SSIR article “The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation” last year, we highlighted many specific approaches that innovation funders are now using. But we find that many grantmakers still end up falling into one or more “innovation traps”—common MORE ››