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Learning in trusts and foundations

In the face of rising need and existential threat to many sectors and services, the decision that each foundation makes about how best to use its relative financial stability has never felt more important. And to be the best that they can be, foundations need to be thoughtful and reflective. Which is why learning is critical: balancing data with intuition; combining evidence with instinct.

 

IVAR is facilitating online sessions of the Evaluation Roundtable Community of Practice for foundation staff leading on evaluation and learning. Their ideas on how to put learning at the heart of foundations’ responses to Covid-19 can be found here. 

 

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The question is “what can we do better”, not “what is the right answer”. Then we can try out multiple ‘better’ things quickly and back the ones that work.

 

Latest briefing

Report cover for funder briefing: finding a path through complexity.

Briefing papers:

Finding a path through complexity

Ben Cairns, Houda Davis, Liz Firth


This briefing draws on the contributions of learning and evaluation staff from 13 foundations, and offers our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that they raise.

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How do we collate all this informal learning into something that trustees recognise as valid? 

 

Learning through lockdown

19 November 2020

The good, the bad and the future

Ciorsdan Brown | The Goldsmiths' Company


In the sixth and final of our learning from lockdown blog series, Ciorsdan Brown describes how The Goldsmiths' Company family united around a shared vision to deliver emergency grants.



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12 November 2020

A funding approach rooted in trust

André Clarke and Emma Stevenson | Comic Relief


In the fifth of our learning from lockdown blog series, André Clarke and Emma Stevenson describe how Comic Relief is driving forward an approach to funding that is rooted in trust.



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05 November 2020

How you make grants is as important as what you fund

Kate Peters | Community Foundation for Surrey


In the fourth of our learning from lockdown blog series, Kate Peters describes how the Community Foundation for Surrey has begun to embrace a different philosophy of grant-making: 'How you make grants is as important as what you fund'.



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29 October 2020

Old dogs, new tricks?

Oliver French | Lankelly Chase


In the third of our learning from lockdown blog series, Oliver French, from Lankelly Chase, reflects on what he and colleagues have been learning about what’s been made visible, possible and necessary as the covid-19 pandemic has unfolded.



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21 October 2020

Promoting equitable, inclusive and transparent grant making

Himali Dave | UMI Fund


In the second of our learning from lockdown blog series, Himali Dave (Urban Movement Innovation Fund), reflects on what she and colleagues have been learning about how best to support organisations to create a collective impact.



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14 October 2020

Making ‘relational’ real: Our experience of funding during Covid

Hazel Robertson | The Robertson Trust


The first in our new series of blogs about learning from funding during Covid, Hazel Robertson reflects on The Robertson Trust's experience of funding during Covid.



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03 September 2020

Joined at the hip: Why you can’t make good grants without investing in learning

Ben Cairns


Learning within trusts and foundations is critical: balancing data with intuition; combining evidence with instinct. Here are four things evaluation and learning staff have shared, through the Evaluation Roundtable Community of Practice, that help make sense of how learning informs decision-making.



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