Never has there been a more important time for grantmakers and grantseekers to better understand best practice and reflect on how we might do things differently to maximize impact.
I am delighted to be joining my colleagues Dr Jodi York, and Kate McKegg to launch the Philanthropy: The Continued Journey to Real Impact and Better Practice Report (2020), in partnership with Philanthropy Australia, by webinar on 23 June 2021.
This Report builds on the Philanthropy: Towards Better Practice Report, released in 2018, and the Philanthropic Impact and Pioneers Program (PIPP) which took place during 2019.
The 2018 Report called out the “opportunity for philanthropists to bring the same strategic thinking and acumen to philanthropy that they have to other professional endeavors’, and to ‘shift the conversation ‘what do you want to buy with your philanthropy dollar to what do you want to achieve with your philanthropy dollar?’
This Report identified that the seminal areas in the grant making process likely to catalyze change across the sector were better strategy and better evidence, or more specifically, greater consideration of evaluation, strategy and the impact of philanthropic activities and the development of framework to support those critical areas.
What do we know 5 years later?
The second wave of research involved re-running the 2014 survey and establishing the PIPP, a 12-month deep dive action research program with philanthropic foundations which delved into evaluation, impact and strategy, and the frameworks needed to be effective across these three important areas.
This Report reveals that progress is slow across the sector and there continues to be an urgent need to focus on impact and evaluation if philanthropy is to support real change into the future.
The PIPP deep dive research program gives us insight into why progress is slow, showing that the complexities and challenges are so great that even those focused on specifically working with experts to achieve impact, found it difficult.
Grantseekers are time poor, strapped for resources and wary of having more honest conversations and relationships with grantmakers lest they get cut off from resources on which they depend.
It is within the power of grantmakers to connect this present with the aspirational future by being more strategic, evidence-led, impactful and effective in their granting and non-granting activities.
What does success look like?
Analyzing the extensive research program (2014-2019) across the two surveys and the PIPP deep dive research, it is clear that to successfully navigate a path through this complex landscape and to drive the shift towards achieving better outcomes and increased impacts, the following is critical:
• Articulate a Theory of Philanthropy
• Build competence and capability around evaluation and impact
• Improved engagement at governance level
• Collaborate more deeply
Join us on the webinar to interrogate the Report in more depth, share the lived experience and challenges of developing an impact framework for your work, and consider the trends and opportunities that will define best practice going forward.
We look forward to a robust conversation, and the debate required to ensure that philanthropy delivers on its potential and makes the most strategic and effective contribution to creating a ‘flourishing life’ for Australians and the world.
- Liz Gillies, Menzies Foundation, CEO