Focusing our efforts
Our first step towards understanding our impact is to analyse what funders are aiming to achieve by sharing collaboration opportunities on the Hub. Comparing the progress of each opportunity with these original intentions will help us answer our first question about the Hub’s role.
We’re starting with this question because it relates directly to how we prioritise our capacity for engaging with funders. It will guide how we focus our efforts where we can make the biggest difference to helping collaboration leaders achieve their aims, while offering a lighter-touch (and more easily scalable) service where this is likely to be sufficient.
We have identified three main outcomes that funders are seeking when they share collaboration opportunities on the Hub.
1. Initiating or shaping a new funder collaboration
Of the 91 collaboration opportunities currently listed on the Hub, 17 are classed as emerging opportunities. We expect to be more actively engaged with the funders initiating these opportunities, particularly in the first few months which might be pivotal for getting a new collaboration off the ground.
Our contribution here might include:
· Helping funders to clarify and articulate the ambitions of their intended collaboration
· Signposting them to relevant practical tools or inspiring examples of other funders’ work
· Making bespoke introductions to relevant funders or networks.
We’ll offer collaboration leaders regular check-ins to find out whether they are getting the number and type of responses they hoped for and how they are following these up. Based on this, we’ll review anything that we might do more, less or differently, to help them achieve their aims.
2. Engaging new collaborators in existing funder collaborations
This is the most common reason for sharing a collaboration opportunity on the Hub. Our initial analysis of the 74 existing collaborations currently listed found that a large majority of these (62) are open to new funders getting involved in some way.
We’ll work with the leaders of these collaborations to understand what they are trying to achieve, how funders can engage with them and how we can best communicate this. We’ll monitor how this is going, checking in every few months to combine our own website analytics (such as how many people have viewed and engaged with each collaboration opportunity page) with feedback from the collaboration leaders.
3. Enabling existing collaborations to work more openly and share learning more widely.
A small number of collaborations (currently 12) on the Hub aren’t seeking to engage new collaborators in their work directly, but have valuable learning to share with other funders. This might be learning about the specific issue their collaboration is working on, which the Hub can signpost to from their collaboration listing. Or it might be learning about the process of collaboration itself, which we can help them to articulate and share through our case studies.
The Hub’s engagement with leaders of these collaborations is likely to be less frequent. However, we will keep in touch enough to make sure that information being shared is up-to-date, and will use our website analytics to monitor how widely the Hub is disseminating their learning.
By tailoring our engagement with funders according to their intended outcomes, over time we hope to be able to answer our first evaluation question – what role has the Hub played in helping funders to collaborate?
We’re now moving on to the next stage of our analysis, looking at how the collaboration opportunities on the Hub intend to enable funders to have more positive impact.
The user research we carried out with funders last year, as part of our partner Shift’s design work on the Hub, identified four main benefits that funders seek through collaboration:
· Avoiding duplication and identifying gaps
· Joining forces to tackle big, complex issues
· Finding ways to work more efficiently
· Creating spaces to engage equitably and inclusively with charities and others working on similar goals.
Over the next month, we’ll look more closely at which collaboration opportunities are working towards each of these aims, and whether there are any other major benefits of collaboration not yet covered by this list.
That will be our starting point for answering our second question – how have these collaborations enabled funders to achieve more together?
Add your funder collaboration opportunity to the Hub
Use our simple form to tell us about an existing funder collaboration or an emerging collaboration opportunity that you'd like to share with other funders