When it comes to funder collaboratives, is the whole truly greater than the sum of its parts? Can foundations make a bigger impact with grant dollars by working together than by going it alone? Yes, grantmakers say, as long as members define their goals, set clear operational guidelines, and work from the start to make the collaborative function well for grantees. In this guide, contributors share strategies for structuring a collaborative to fit its purpose, building strong relationships and resolving conflicts, and figuring out if the collaborative you're in is working. Contributors also offer ample proof that collaboratives are leading the field in bringing the voices of nonfunders - grantees, intended beneficiaries, experts, and others - into the process of making grants.
A former foundation president cited a similar experience: “A few years ago, our foundation worked with a number of local nonprofits to create an initiative to end childhood hunger in our city. Every organization — from food banks to foundations — that worked on nutrition issues was at the table, contributing ideas and participating in meetings to figure out what to do. We had committees and groups working on each part of the question. Eventually, we hammered out a plan and then sent that draft around for comment.”Read More »
Demonstrate trust and respect for the people you are working with. In a collaborative that explicitly wanted to bring new funders into a field, for example, a grantmaker whose foundation contributed the majority of the initial funding urged the group to equalize voting rights:Read More »
Growth Capital Networks - type of venture philanthropy that bring together investors — individual and institutional — to seek out proven organizations and fund major expansions. They typically involve a constantly shifting set of potential funders that could constitute a collaborative on any given deal, rather than a fixed set of funders focused on a specific initiative for a long period of time.Read More »
“Having participated in numerous funder collaboratives,” one grantmaker reflected, “I think it’s fair to say that there is no one right way.”Read More »
Readers often tell us that GrantCraft guides are helpful to them, not just as individual readers but when they want to get a conversation started or work through a process with others. Here are three suggested ways to use the guide with colleagues.