A new report released today sheds light on how online tools are changing the way funders collaborate. Harnessing Collaborative Technologies: Helping Funders Work Together Better is the product of research conducted jointly by the Monitor Institute and the Foundation Center. This report helps funders learn about the different phases of collaboration and online tools that can help them advance all types of sharing, coordination, and cooperation.
“Increasingly, foundations seek to leverage the impact of their giving by joining with others to address large, complex problems,” said Katherine Fulton, president of the Monitor Institute, a part of Monitor Deloitte. “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.”
The report aims to help funders get smarter about how emerging new technologies can help them work together more effectively and provides guidance on how to make thoughtful choices about investing in the development of new tools that facilitate collaborative work.
An interactive tool finder developed by GrantCraft, a joint service of the Foundation Center and the European Foundation Centre, complements the report by presenting 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 helps users generate custom results that provide details on recommended solutions, including their cost; whether they are best for small-, medium-, or large-sized collaborations; how easy they are to use; and if there is a mobile-friendly version.
“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.”
The research on which the report is based 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. The content of the report is divided into three primary sections: 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. Key Findings from Harnessing Collaborative Technologies outlines overarching themes from the report and serves as a companion piece to the full report.
The Harnessing Collaborative Technologies: Helping Funders Work Together Betterreport and Key Findings executive summary can be downloaded for free in the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center’s web site and from the Monitor Institute’s web site.
Funding for the project was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 470 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.
About the Monitor Institute
Monitor Institute is a social change consultancy that works with innovative leaders at nonprofits and foundations to advance social impact across a diverse range of issues. Monitor Institute strives to be a scout for social innovation, bringing new approaches to clients and contributing to the public debate on leading-edge topics such as impact investing, strategic philanthropy, and networked collaboration. As a for-profit/for-benefit hybrid, Monitor Institute pursues social impact while operating as a fully integrated unit of Deloitte Consulting LLP. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. For more information, please visit monitorinstitute.com or call (415) 932-5382.