Building from the principles and practices suggested by the Embracing Complexity Report, the Shifting Systems initiative, and several other sources, this Funder Self-Assessment Tool has been developed as a collaborative effort hosted by the Shifting the Funding Paradigm Catalyst 2030 Working Group.

This assessment supports funders to determine how far along their  organisation is on its journey towards effectively contributing to systemic change and where they can find support and learning opportunities to advance their practice.

The Embracing Complexity: Towards a Shared Understanding of Funding Systems Change report was released in January 2020 and is the result of collaboration between Ashoka, McKinsey & Company, and social entrepreneurs from Catalyst 2030, Co-Impact, Echoing Green, Schwab Foundation, Skoll Foundation, and SystemIQ.

The aim of the report is to reach those in the funding community who want to evolve their current model to invest in systems change approaches. It marks the first few steps in the movements’ collective journey to learn about and embrace funding practices that are aligned with systems change. By distilling strategies and processes, this report points to the transformation needed in the “system” of funding systemic change itself.

Taken in conjunction, the Embracing Complexity Report, the NGO Open Letter, and this Funder Self-Assessment Tool unite to present a visionary and audacious blueprint for the philanthropic field. This blueprint advocates for funders to champion a profound cultural shift, overhaul their strategic approaches, and usher in a new era of innovative funding processes.

The tool utilises the report’s key principles and practices to support the philanthropic field to embrace a different mindset and practice of funding in order to re-calibrate. It recognises that each funding organisation must go on its own unique journey. We invite them to use this self-assessment to discover where their organisation currently is on this journey and to travel even further.


Our vision is to empower funders to become catalysts for systemic change. Through our funder tool, we envision a philanthropic sector that embraces transparency, equity, and adaptability as the cornerstones of its approach. The core aim of the Funder Self-Assessment Tool is to enable funders to effectively contribute to systemic change within their respective fields.


The Funder Self-Assessment Tool has engaged with more than 700 funders. We have learned more about where funders are on their journey towards effectively contributing to systemic change. This is a vital instrument that empowers funders to actively contribute to systems change by adopting a new culture, strategy and funding processes. Its initial adoption and positive reception from the philanthropic community demonstrate its potential to catalyse transformative impact across various sectors and regions. As more funders engage with this tool, they embark on a journey of growth, innovation and collaborative efforts, ultimately paving the way for a more equitable and sustainable future.