November 12, 2013

New Technologies Can Facilitate Foundation Collaboration

Foundation Center’s interactive tool finder identifies technology solutions

As foundations increasingly collaborate with their fellow funders to leverage their impact as they address complex public problems, the logistical challenges to working together can be daunting.

Last week, the Monitor Institute and the Foundation Center released a report on their research into how new technologies can facilitate collaborations and reduce inefficiencies.

The research was included an extensive literature review on collaboration in philanthropy, detailed analyses of trends from a Foundation Center survey of the largest U.S. foundations, interviews with 37 leading philanthropy professionals and technology experts and a review of more than 170 online tools, according to a statement.

The report includes an introduction to emerging technologies and the changing context for philanthropic collaboration, an overview of collaborative needs and tools and recommendations for improving the collaborative technology landscape.

An interactive tool finder developed by GrantCraft, a joint service of the Foundation Center and the European Foundation Centre, presents seven distinct collaborative needs (including finding partners, designing strategies and assessing progress) and 17 types of tool functionalities (ranging from data gathering to project management) in an online matrix that facilitates intuitive exploration of available resources.

This free resource is designed to help users generate custom results that provide details on recommended solutions, including their cost; whether they are best for small, medium or large collaborations; their ease of use; and whether a mobile-friendly version exists.

“In a time when the challenges of repairing the world seem to know no bounds, working together as a global community of problem-solvers is more important than ever,” Lisa Philp, vice president for strategic philanthropy at the Foundation Center, said in the statement.

“Technology is helping funders harness the power of collaboration, opening up new opportunities for strategic partnerships and making it easier to build effective relationships across organizations and geographies.”

Recent research revealed that not all foundations are buying into the collaborative trend, however. The survey found some U.S. foundations ambivalent about working with other funders, though none that had said they were disinclined to do so again.

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