Funders are confronted with an urgent need to find and support transformative solutions to the world's most pressing problems. However, much of the philanthropic field is currently calibrated for treating symptoms rather than changing the conditions that hold societal problems in place. Though it is important to reduce immediate suffering (e.g. building & equipping homeless shelters), philanthropists must also prioritize addressing root conditions (e.g. changing housing-related norms and policies). This requires a different mindset and practice of funding. So, how can the philanthropic field re-calibrate?
This question is being asked by many in the field and, fortunately, the key principles and practices are already known. To embrace these, each institution and donor must go on their own unique journey.
Informed by multiple partners, we invite you to follow four paths.
BONUS: You can help us Spread the word!
Read and consider signing the Catalyst 2030 commitment letter highlighting funder practice changes that will best support systems change. It has been endorsed by more than 1200 social change organizations, including funders representing every region of the globe.
Take the self-assessment to discover where your institution is on this journey and to travel even further. To get started, please click the "Take the Self-Assessment" button above.
Once you've read and hopefully signed the letter, taken the self-assessment and received recommendations, head to the Resource Library to browse through resources that you can use on your journey to grow as a systems change funder. To get started, consider:
- Finding and internalizing your own reasons for why growing as a systems change funder is important—i.e. how it can manifest as better grantmaking/investing and, ultimately, greater impact.
- Carving out the time to brainstorm how to address the recommendations that you received through the assessment.
- Organizing a learning journey for your colleagues and peers—e.g. setup a lunch where they can come together, take the assessment, and discuss possible next steps.
- Seeing your institution or donor platform as a system itself, explore who and what needs to be influenced in order for culture, strategy, and process to change.
- Developing an action plan putting it into motion!
And be sure to connect with peer funders and donors as suggested in the commitment letter. If you have feedback or suggestions, please get in touch[LINK].