The privilege of learning: a funder’s perspective
23 June 2023 5 minute read
Corporate social impact: Theory of change
An event for businesses and corporate philanthropists interested in taking a Theory of Change approach to their giving.
What we’ve learned so far
We’re fortunate to partner with organisations working across a broad spectrum of communities and themes. Our partners deliver a variety of interventions and activities, from universal support and early intervention, to supporting people facing and recovering from financial crisis.
Over the past few months, we’ve learnt how young people are being placed at risk of developing gambling habits within some gaming apps, and how youth workers are working to support young people towards a position of financial wellbeing.
We’ve also learned how victims of economic abuse (a form of domestic abuse) can face immediate destitution when leaving the perpetrator. And how relief workers play a significant role in developing not just the opportunities to access a place of refuge, but the mental resilience required to do so. Alongside the ongoing support needed to move victims closer to a position of financial independence.
A standout feature of this learning journey has been the generosity of our funded partners, who have been sharing their approaches to responding to the cost-of-living crisis within their communities. Despite the breadth of interventions, communities, and geographies that our partners work across, there’s a visible ‘golden thread’ shared by each organisation, which is their approach to responding to crisis and escalating need.
Each of these organisations support individuals with a tailored system of solutions, relationships, and assets. They’re responding to the needs of “the whole person”, often providing intense wrap around support, whilst understanding their own strengths and the opportunities that arise through partnership work.
The power of flexible and human centered approaches is evident across the learning shared with us to date. As a funder we’re actively reflecting on our role to showcase, foster, and safeguard these relational ways of working, to ensure that current and future funded partners are resourced and supported appropriately.
How learning is feeding into our grant-making
The holistic approach demonstrated by our funded partners provides a useful model for the approach grant-makers should take in these challenging times:
- Consider the needs of the grant seeker as an organisation; fund with greater flexibility and freedom to allow grant holders the agility to respond to an ever-changing environment and priorities.
- Take time to understand how your funding contributes to a wider eco-system of funding opportunities across a vast network of funders and commissioners. Doing so will allow you to build meaningful partnerships, programs, and understand when others are better placed to respond. The knowledge and propositional feedback given to us, has directly shaped our cost-of-living response; uplifting our partners grants with a 10% unrestricted increase, and offering flexibility to utilise the funds in whichever manner they deem appropriate to respond to the crisis.
As a foundation, we’re entering our second year of running a more strategic multiyear funding offer, and we’re still discovering when to lean into the learning privilege to uncover practice and knowledge that will benefit our funded partners. Equally, we must remain conscious of how and when we ask for knowledge to be shared and ensure that the very act of doing so is mutually beneficial and without burden.
At NPC, we’re addressing some of the questions raised in this blog in a new project, exploring evaluation and learning approaches which chime with the principles of trust-based funding. Over the coming months, we will be developing, testing and sharing approaches. Please get in touch with email@example.com if you would like to find out more.