A road the forks in two

Open Philanthropy weeknote 2: our learning so far and design funding cycles

By Jane Dodson 1 June 2022

This month we welcome a new team member, focus on drawing together the knowledge we have gained so far, and think ahead to the design of our funding cycle. 


  • For us, in this programme, including a broad range of key stakeholders in our planning, sense-making, and decision-making is hugely important. We are prioritising findings that are informed by lived experience of those groups that evidence tells us are disproportionately affected by financial hardship.  
  • Valuable insights are coming out of the initial interviews and desk-based work. A picture of who is most affected, the impacts of the pandemic on financial wellbeing, and where the funding gaps are is starting to emerge. Thank you to those who have given their time and expertise. We would love to hear from others too – if you have insights to share, please be in touch. 
  • We are now working through the examples of open grant making practices to inform the design of our funding cycle. We have set some time aside at the end of June to work up a prototype that we can publish and gain further views upon – again, there are lots of opportunities to get involved, drop a comment here or contact me directly. 
  • It is a privilege to be working with those who are pushing boundaries and bringing together those who aspire to do so. Within the team this month have been discussions around the diffusion of innovation curve  how best to create the conditions for innovation to spread whilst taking the first steps towards a community of practice. 

Engagement & partnerships 

  • Delighted to have had the opportunity to present our work and plans at the London Funders Festival of Learning, thanks to those who attended and contributed to the discussion.  Despite my epic camera fail! We have an invitation to return next year and share our learnings.  
  • We have developed a partnership with The Philanthropy Workshop  to test their Action Lab approach and held the first event this month.  We have another planned mid-July, with the aim of creating an impactful, peer learning experience for philanthropists. There are places available, do contact us for more details. 
  •  I’m really looking forward to speaking to the members of UKCF next week, to share what we are doing, and explore opportunities to work together. 
  • Very humbled to be invited to work alongside Turn2Us  and Barking and Dagenham Giving to learn from their approaches to grants to individuals, there will I’m sure be some important insights as the work progresses. In preparation I enjoyed reading the Learning and Participation Strategy they have developed from two years of working within this community. 

 And finally… 

  • A warm welcome to new team member Naomi , who is already making a brilliant contribution to the programme!