While foundations increasingly are engaging in collaborations as a way to leverage their impact, many face challenges in finding new partners and the time needed to manage the collaborative process, a report from the and the finds.
Based on trend analyses from a Foundation Center survey of the largest U.S. foundations, interviews with leading philanthropy professionals and technology experts, and a review of the literature and online tools, the report, (44 pages, PDF), highlights the collaborative needs of funders at each stage of the process, as well as tools they can use to develop protocols for sharing information and taking joint action.
"Increasingly, foundations seek to leverage the impact of their giving by joining with others to address large, complex problems," said Monitor Institute president Katherine Fulton. "The logistical challenges they face in working together can be daunting, but new technologies can make collaborations easier by reducing inefficiencies and enabling new methods of working together that were difficult to imagine just a few years ago."
Funded by the , the study makes recommendations for improving the collaborative technology landscape, including filling "tools" gaps with respect to finding potential partners, accessing expertise, and developing shared impact assessments. Other recommendations include improving tool design and supporting the ecosystem around collaboration technologies.
The report is complemented by an interactive developed by , a joint service of the Foundation Center and the . By presenting seven "need" types — including finding partners, designing strategies, and assessing progress — and seventeen tool functionalities — from data gathering to project management — in an online matrix, the finder enables users to generate custom search results with details on recommended solutions, including their cost, ease of use, availability of mobile-friendly versions, and whether they are best suited for small-, medium-, or large-size collaborations.
"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," said Lisa Philp, vice president for strategic philanthropy at the Foundation Center. "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."