Resources » Topic » Philanthropy and Funding
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Since 2007, Social Ventures Australia (SVA) Consulting has completed over 400 projects with over 200 organisations across employment, education, community services, health and indigenous affairs. The SVA Consulting Quarterly brings together what they have learned from their work and the insights they have gained in new practices, novel methodologies and fresh wisdom.
Fundamentals of Modern Philanthropy provides new perspectives on the broad variety of impacts that
charitable foundations can make, by both applying and acquiring funds.
Making Sense of Data and Information in the Social Sector, from Markets for Good, is a collection of selected readings from the previous year with ideas about how to upgrade the system for sharing knowledge in the social sector. The b-Book provides a range of perspectives on the most critical data-related challenges facing the social sector, and how these challenges can be addressed. Posts were chosen for their high readership, topic diversity, and thought leadership. The authors debate new and recurring hurdles in the social sector, like capacity and capital constraints; how qualitative data, including stories and beneficiary insights, can be incorporated into data-driven decision processes; and big-, medium-, and small-data management.
The Practical Guide is a resource that distills best practice in impact measurement into five easy-to-understand steps and provides practical tips and recommendations for how to implement impact measurement at the level of the social investor and in the social sector organisations that they support.
The Good Investor, authored by Adrian Hornsby and Gabi Blumberg, is a guide for investors who make investments into companies, organisations and funds to generate measurable social and environmental impact. This guide is structured around incorporating impact assessment into the various stages of the investment process, progressing from the investors’ initial exposure to investment opportunities, through the screening and analysis, and onto making investment decisions, monitoring and evaluating, and reporting on the impact achieved.
This handbook authored by Jaan Aps from Stories for Impact and the Estonia Social Enterprise Network has recently provoked discussions in Estonia among financiers of Estonian civil society development, including The National Foundation of Civil Society (NFCS) and Open Estonia Foundation.
Evaluation has the ability to provide a wealth of information for grantmakers, as well as the organizations and communities they serve, to learn from. When done well, evaluation increases the capacity and improves performance of grantees. GEO provides funders with best practices to incorporate evaluation into their grantmaking through “four essentials:” Lead, Plan, Organize and Share.
The Little Blue Book, by Belinda Vernon and John Copps is NPC’s concise and practical guide to analysing charities, for charities and funders. The guide contains examples of how charities and funders benefit from analysis, and explains NPC’s charity analysis framework, which looks at how charities can assess their effectiveness in six areas:
- Activities: Do the charity’s activities address a genuine need?
- Results: Can it demonstrate results of what it has achieved?
- Leadership: Do trustees and management provide high quality leadership?
- People and resources: Does it use staff, volunteers and resources well?
- Finances: Are the finances sound?
- Ambition: Is it ambitious to solve social problems?
PHINEO analyses non-profit organisations in terms of their effectiveness and their projects’ potential to make a lasting impact.Their special analytical method takes all of the components of philanthropic work into account. They focus on organisation-related and project-related criteria geared toward the needs and expectations of social investors. Download an overview of their approach in Phineo: Doing Good - Achieving The Best.
On March 26, 2003, The Goldman Sachs Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation hosted over fifty funders at Goldman Sachs offices in New York to discuss the issues surrounding assessing social impact and social return on investment (“SROI”). We were pleased with the high level of interest in this topic and the insights articulated during the day’s discussions. Our focus was on two thematic fields: education/youth development and community development/employment.
The purpose of the meeting was twofold:
- To convene a cross-section of charitable and double bottom line funders to discuss and learn from various approaches to assessing social impact and social return on investment in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors
- To begin a dialogue on developing a common set of expectations for metrics or standards that could be used in the education/youth development and community development/employment sectors to assess the social impact of philanthropic and other social purpose investments.
In September 2011, 30 leaders in the field of social impact measurement came convened at an Impact Summit, where they discussed how to embed impact measurement throughout the UK social sector. This report by Benedict Rickey and Tris Lumley from NPC, and Matthew Pike from View, sets out the results of that discussion. It sows the seeds for the development of Inspiring Impact.
External Databases and Resources
Money for Good from Hope Consulting has resources on impact investing and charitable giving.
Founded in 2006, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy has emerged as a unique and trusted authority for donors seeking to maximise the social impact of their funds.
- What Are We Talking About When We Talk About Impact?
- Beyond Compliance: Measuring to Learn, Improve, and Create Positive Change
- Five Myths and a Question About Impact
- Global Children’s Health: A Toolkit for Donors
The resource also contains many philanthropic investment guides and reports.
More than 6400 publications have now been selected by TSRC for inclusion in the Third Sector Knowledge Portal - an easy-to-use online library of research, evidence, and analysis.
It has been developed by TSRC in partnership with the British Library and the Big Lottery Fund, and brings together over 6000 works such as: impact reports from third sector organisations; academic research projects; government studies; and more, in one collection of downloads, links and summaries.
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent grant-making charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement, ensuring that children from all backgrounds can fulfill their potential and make the most of their talents.
The EEF exists to fund, develop and evaluate cost-effective and replicable projects which address educational disadvantage.
Their focus is on supporting projects that show promising evidence of having a measurable impact on attainment or a directly related outcome. We are interested in testing projects’ effectiveness through robust independent evaluations, wherever possible as randomized controlled trials. If they are shown to have an impact, they should be able to be replicated and scaled up to improve outcomes for other disadvantaged pupils.
Venture Philanthropy and Impact Investing from the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) is a compilation of resources on venture philanthropy, grant philanthropy, social investment and impact investing.
The Big Society Capital resources provide information and tools for understanding social investment. Information is included in the following categories: Why is social investment beneficial?, How do organisations use social investment?, Types of social investment, The social investment market and How to become a social investor.
Guides to Giving Well is a resource centre from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors that provides guidance, case studies and tools for thoughtful, effective philanthropy.
The following table illustrates the full tests that thresholds that we used to assess the social impact performance of social investment finance
intermediaries (SIFIs) and upon which SIFIs will assess the performance of the frontline organisations that receive BSC’s money.
Inspiring Impact is a programme run by a collaboration of UK voluntary sector organisations and aims to change the way the UK voluntary sector thinks about impact. They have developed a range of resources including the Code of Good Impact Practice, Funders’ principles and drivers of good impact practice, Blueprint for shared measurement and more.
The Big Society Capital social impact resources include their approach to establishing best practice among social investment finance intermediaries (SIFIs) as well as providing a standardised taxonomy and set of definitions for outcomes based investing. These best practice guides are aimed at the SIFI model and will therefore not necessarily apply to all investors. They do not include environmental outcomes.
This is a Social Impact Report by the Timewise Foundation in partnership with nef consulting (the new economics foundation) and supported by KPMG. The TImewise Foundation’s vision is for everyone to be able to find the flexibility they need in their careers, without reducing their value in the workplace.
This report by Paul Brest and Kelly Born for The Conference Board Initiative on Corporate Philanthropy, was originally published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. In corporate philanthropy, the focus is shifting from counting inputs to measuring social impact. Yet there is considerable confusion about the meaning of social impact. And the concept is even more complex in the emerging practice of impact investing. This report, which inaugurates The Conference Board Giving Thoughts series, sheds light on the concepts of enterprise, investment, nonmonetary impact, and the key requirement of “additionality.” By carefully examining the parameters and assumptions underlying the “impact” in impact investments, this edition of the series lays the foundation for a more focused discussion of assessing philanthropic and impact investing outcomes.
Tris Lumley Head of Development at NPC and trustee of SIAA talks about embedding impact measurement in practice.
Hilary Best, Analyst at Purpose Capital, blogs about investor challenges with impact measurement, touching on the published Guidebook for Impact Investors: Impact Measurement and report Social Impact Measurement Use Among Canadian Impact Investors.
The Simple Wheel provides tools for nonprofits to measure their impact, and for donors to better inform their giving.
Philanthropic donors and foundations are rightly concerned to understand the effect of their work in order to see where and how to improve. This White Paper from Giving Evidence outlines 5 tools to help donors and funders better understand their performance.
The tools involve understanding:
- Are our grants succeeding?
- Is the patient getting better? Leaving aside causation for a second, is the problem we’re addressing getting better or worse?
- Could we release hidden funds by streamlining our processes?
- What do our grantees think of us?
- What have we learned? Identify and articulate lessons about performance and experience, and share them externally such that others can learn too.
The outcomes matrix is a tool to help social investment financial intermediaries (SIFI’s) and social sector organisations to plan, measure and learn about their social impact. It aims to develop common ground and language for social investment and impact assessment in the social sector. The outcomes and measures are not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive but should provide a helpful starting point for organisations to consider their social impact.
Training and Courses
Cass Business School at City University London offers PGCert/PGDip/MSc in Grantmaking, Philanthropy & Social Investment. There is a growing recognition, that in addition to a common body of knowledge all managers need in order to succeed, there are critical specialist areas for managers which provide a sound understanding of all aspects of their work and a springboard for further career progression.
This charity degree course is the first of its kind in the UK and Europe and reflects the increasing interest in funding and the need for transparency and accountability. Students will develop a clear understanding of the practices and principles of funding.
The Center for Philanthropic Studies at the University of Amsterdam conducts research and educates professionals in all areas of the Dutch philanthropic sector. Since 1995, the Center has been the leading unit for research on philanthropy in the Netherlands and in Europe. The Center offers postgraduate courses in Philanthropic Studies
The Erasmus Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (ECSP) at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Non-Profit Management, and Effective management of philanthropic “NGO” organisations.
Working Papers and Research
This report from Inspiring Impact and NPC reviews developments in shared measurement following the publication of Inspiring Impact’s Blueprint for shared measurement and presents our framework for assessing if a sector is an appropriate candidate for shared measurement.
The framework sets criteria, including indicators of drivers and barriers to shared measurement, that can be used to review and grade sectors based on three core factors:
- the sector and its infrastructure;
- current evidence and measurement approaches; and
- the momentum for shared measurement.
This publication from the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), written by Dr Leonora Buckland and with the support of the London Business School, explores how European banks can use their core strengths –financial acumen, investment skills, capital and networks– to actively generate social impact by engaging in venture philanthropy and social investment. It is a compilation of numerous interviews with executives at banks, as well as archival research.
Philanthropic institutions have been instrumental in helping to launch the Social Impact Bond (SIB) market both in the US and abroad. To explore this work, Social Finance US has released a White Paper which draws on existing research and Social Finance’s on-the-ground experience, as well as interviews with numerous foundation staff and thought leaders. They assessed the role that philanthropy has played and will continue to play in developing the SIB market in the US.
This report is from the Social Market Foundation (SMF), by Nigel Keohane, Ian Mulheirn and Ryan Shorthouse. Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are an innovative way of commissioning public services. Private or philanthropic investors provide the upfront finance, with government only paying them a return if and once social outcomes are achieved. However, the number of SIBs currently underway is small, and our analysis finds that they are unlikely to appeal to mainstream investors unless some major hurdles can be overcome.
This report explores the variety of payment-by-results (PbR) approaches, what is standing in the way of SIBs and how to help the market promote SIBs.
The report by Charlotte Ravenscroft at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) looks at how a small group of UK charitable funders use and share evidence in practice, particularly how they find their evidence, use this evidence and share the evidence to inform the future decisions of others - funders, practitioners, and policymakers.
The Impact Investor Project was established in 2012 as a two-year research partnership between InSight at Pacific Community Ventures, CASE at Duke University, and ImpactAssets. The goal was simple: supplant the guesswork and conjecture in impact investing with solid evidence of high performance and, in the process, expose the concrete practices of outstanding funds for use as the foundation for a more sophisticated and successful market.
Impact Investing 2.0 profiles twelve funds who work in vastly different sectors, from microfinance in India to sustainable property in the UK, and have accordingly pursued very different investment strategies and approaches to social impact.Their success across such a broad set of parameters offers many lessons for the industry and beyond.
Making an impact by David Pritchard, Eibhlin Ni Ogain and Tris Lumley from NPC, offers the first representative picture of the UK charity sector’s response to the challenge of impact measurement. NPC surveyed 1,000 charities with incomes over £10,000 to understand what has changed in charities’ impact measurement practices, the drivers behind measuring impact, and the benefits and challenges that it brings.The report identifies steps to be taken to improve the practice of impact measurement, fund impact measurement itself, advise charities on how to use the data, advance policy and facilitate shared outcome frameworks.
E.T. Jackson and Associates Ltd prepared Accelerating Impact: Achievements, Challenges and What’s Next in Building the Impact Investing Industry for The Rockefeller Foundation in 2012. It includes sections on Impact Investing: What It Is and Why It Matters, Achievements and Challenges: What’s Happened So Far, and What Hasn’t, Opportunities and Directions: What’s Next?
This report, by Hannah Pavey, Sarah Hedley, Tris Lumley from NPC, explores how and if funders help their grantees to monitor and evaluate the work they do. Most grant-making trusts and foundations recognise the importance of monitoring and evaluation, and are keen for the charities they fund to assess the outcomes they achieve. But how many funders actively help their grantees do this? It is still quite rare for funders to offer charities support on measuring impact—research conducted by
New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) has shown that few funders consistently provide monitoring and evaluation support, and one
in three never do.
This report by Joe Ludlow (2010 Clore Social Fellow) and Belinda Vernon for NPC provides a framework in which to think about the importance of links between the activities of different charities in achieving positive outcomes. It aims to encourage thinking beyond the the boundaries of a single organisation.
It argues that:
- Charities benefit from understanding the impact networks in which they operate, and their roles within those networks.
- Charities can improve the delivery of outcomes by working with their impact networks to collaborate, to identify gaps and reduce waste.
- Larger charities and funders have distinct, important roles in making impact networks work effectively.
This working paper is by Alnoor Ebrahim and V. Kasturi Rangan, Social Enterprise Initiative, Harvard Business School.
Leaders of organisations in the social sector are under growing pressure to demonstrate their impacts on pressing societal problems such as global poverty. We review the debates around performance and impact, drawing on three literatures: strategic philanthropy, nonprofit management, and international development. We then develop a contingency framework for measuring results, suggesting that some organisations should measure long-term impacts, while others should focus on shorter-term outputs and outcomes. In closing, we discuss the implications of our analysis for future research on performance management.