Supporting the philanthropic sector to deliver transformational change through partnership
Philanthropic organisations, including foundations and associations of funders, are uniquely positioned to play their part in aligning and combining the limited human, natural and financial resources of the planet to create more resilient, sustainable and just societies. They are funders, but they can also be partners, drivers of innovation, and catalysts for collective action across sectors. However, to maximise the transformative potential of partnership, philanthropic organisations are finding that they need to change the way they think and operate.
Recognising this challenge, a group of pioneering philanthropic foundations have come together with The Partnering Initiative (TPI) to develop the state of the art of partnering for philanthropic impact..
Building on TPI’s 20 years of tried and tested approaches for effective partnership, this collaborative programme seeks to evolve how philanthropic organisations partner – from transforming their relationships with individual grantees, to spearheading transformational multi-stakeholder partnerships. Bringing together peers from the global philanthropy sector, the programme helps to build the strategy and institutional capacity of philanthropic organisations to maximise their social impact through partnership, while building new approaches for a step change in sector practice.
The programme has three interconnected strands working at different levels:
Progress to date
Working closely with a small group of pioneering foundations, including Johnson & Johnson Foundation and the Z Zurich Foundation as core partners, TPI undertook a year of collaborative research resulting in a major new sector report: Partnering for Philanthropic Impact.
The report sets out a framework to help make sense of the different ways in which philanthropic organisations can approach partnering to increase their impact (see below), as well as initial thinking on what foundations need to do to transform and build their institutional capacity to optimize their partnering.
The Partnering for Philanthropic Impact Programme works with philanthropic organisations, both individually and collectively, to think through the innovations in strategy and institutional capacity required to adopt these various models and to deliver transformational development through partnership.
Join your peers in the next phase
The programme is relevant for wherever philanthropic organisations are in their partnership journeys – from considering changes in relationships with individual grantees, to exploring their role as systems leaders in transformational multi-stakeholder collaborations.
Individual support projects
Tailored support helps individual foundations to reach the next level while also contributing to best practice for the sector as a whole. Foundations including CIFF, Bernard Van Leer, J&J, Z Zurich and Jacobs have benefited from:
- Strategy development – to define an organisation’s partnership ambition to deliver its strategic objectives more effectively;
- Fit for Partnering assessment – to understand and address the extent to which an organisation’s leadership and strategy, systems and processes, staff capacities, and organisational culture are set-up for effective and impactful partnering;
- Development of pro-partnering systems, legal agreements, processes including partnership grant application processes;
- Partnership health checks – to review how well existing partnerships are functioning and support improvements;
- Staff and grantee partnering capacity building – to build individual skills, knowledge, and behaviours for partnering.
“The team at TPI understand deeply the fundamental building blocks of partnering[…] Their analysis and insights are very practical and will enable us to take a robust approach and make it more effective still.” Z Zurich Foundation
Knowledge exchange and peer learning
Together with partners in the Philanthropic ecosystem, the programme curates events and resources for individual practitioners to share learning, and inspire each other’s practice.
- Open events – featuring partner foundations, and covering topics such as how to use the four models of Foundation Partnering; partnering with business / industry and government; and addressing power imbalances through partnership
- Closed peer learning exchange sessions – with topics designed co-creatively with participating organisations to focus on their needs
- Blogs, case studies, and podcasts exploring key themes on philanthropic partnering impact
Sector practice development
To influence sector best practice as a whole, the programme will develop and disseminate practical approaches and guidance. This will involve: (i) research to understand the issues and existing practices; (ii) development of evidence-based conceptual frameworks and strategic guidance; (iii) co-creation and piloting of methodologies and tools, and (iv) refinement and packaging of outputs for the benefit of the wider sector. This area of programming will be informed by the other strands and co-created with participating organisations. Topics might include:
- Approaches and tools for supporting grantees to partner more effectively with each other
- Methods for tracking, measuring, and maximising the impact and added value of partnership and system transformation;
- Innovative processes to support value-creating grantee partnerships;
- Effective practice for philanthropic organisations as systems leaders and funders of multi-stakeholder partnerships
How the programme is funded
Individual programmes are funded by the supported organisation, typically also including a contribution to draw out and share learning more widely. The knowledge exchange and peer learning strand of the programme is supported by TPI itself, although we are always grateful for additional support. Sector practice development is funded by organisations with specific interests in the topics or keen to support the philanthropic sector to break new ground
As the programme develops, TPI continues to partner with foundations and philanthropy supporting organisations and entities.
Interested in learning more?
If you are a foundation interested in participating in the Partnering for Philanthropic Impact programme, please contact Anna Hirsch-Holland (anna.hirsch-holland @tpiglobal.org) or complete the form below: