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Listening for Change – Two Sides of the Same Coin?

The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the Blagrave Trust commissioned an anonymous survey of social purpose organisations towards the end of 2016 to shed light on their experiences of working with Trusts and Foundations.   

The report published today ‘Listening for Change’ gives unmediated voice to individuals working in social purpose organisations as part of a broader recognition of the importance of funders listening to and learning from those they work with and support.  The findings can be found here:

http://www.blagravetrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Listening-for-Change-Full-Report-and-annexes.pdf . 

 Findings demonstrate a strong desire from charities to be part of an open conversation with funders as partners with shared social goals.  The 600+ respondents said that grant making practice by Trusts and Foundations needs to strengthen charities’ core work rather than detract from it; do more to open up communication; improve accountability to beneficiaries; and base relationships on trust.

Feedback includes:

·         Foundations are seen as accountable to their Trustees to a much larger degree than the people they seek to help. A significant minority point out that Foundations never visit their work or meet beneficiaries and this needs to change;

·         Foundations’ communication with charities needs to improve so that charities can learn from feedback and relationships can be stronger;

·         Foundations should acknowledge that failure is part of social change work and play a greater role championing the sector during turbulent times.

·         Foundations should seek to collaborate with each other around shared priorities as well as process, in order to minimize the bureaucratic burden on charities.

Please do read more in the report, share with colleagues and get involved in a conversation about how collectively we can improve the ways we work.  If you tweet do use the  hashtag – #listeningforchange

Read some of the responses in our Storify