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It takes an ecosystem to #ShiftThePower - are you part of it? 

If you were at the Global Summit on Community Philanthropy you will remember that we were all invited by our colleagues from Root Change to spend some time mapping our organizations’ relationships in regards to community philanthropy. Who do we go to for technical support? What about research and policy analysis? And, finally, who are our allies and supporters when it comes to advocacy? 

If you haven’t yet mapped, we still need your input so that we can broaden our view beyond the participants who were able to attend the Summit. It’s also never too late to participate or update your relationships if you’ve already contributed! The map we produced tells some interesting stories, and based on who already contributed at the Summit (about 25% of participants) here is what we learned:

  • The #ShiftThePower network is deep, rich and extends across multiple conversations, regions and actors.
  • There are some notable and significant resource hubs – largely northern funders and networks. Although community philanthropy is a development discourse that emphasizes local assets, local ownership and bottom-up approaches to development, it still relies on a handful of key (northern) donors for resources.
  • Northern philanthropic networks are well connected. This finding is supported by a recent report produced by WINGS, which observes that 80% of spending on philanthropic infrastructure occurs in North America.
  • Based on the current data, roughly two thirds of all actors mapped are operating at the country-level. Only a very small percentage of organizations serve as regional brokers. Community foundations are deeply invested in the communities and countries they serve, but there may be an under-realized role for regional coordination and knowledge brokering.
  • Our community is collaborating most actively around technical support and research and policy analysis. Collaboration around advocacy for #ShiftThePower is nascent network, with little coordination and no clear local resource hubs yet identified. In comparison to the other two collaboration areas, there is little cohesion or centralized leadership. 
  • International NGOs are largely missing from this map. If community philanthropy is part of a larger strategy to strengthen the DNA of local ownership, then INGOs, serving as knowledge and resource brokers, need to coexist alongside other traditional local actors.


Evan Bloom, Root Change introduces the mapping at the Global Summit 

Looking ahead: let’s realize the power of our networks and grow them 

For anyone working to create social change in their community or country, the power of networks, social trust, and collaboration is undeniable. Individuals and organizations are embedded in thick webs of social relations and interactions that shape development outcomes. This “web of connection” is inescapable, powerful, and not always visible. The promise of using a tool like Capacity Connect and taking a systems-oriented approach is that it can be used to gain a deeper understanding of the larger civil society landscape and the role of community philanthropy:

  • Who are the players in the system?
  • Who is influential?
  • What network structures might be helping or hindering the advancement of community philanthropy and #ShiftThePower?


Join the mapping!

So what are you waiting for?

  • If you have already mapped, revisit your entries: add, expand, etc. 
  • If you weren’t at the Summit but want to be part of the conversation and community, register your organization on the platform here and get mapping!
  • Invite others to map! Community philanthropy is not a mainstream concept within the broader civil society and funding community. So, engage some of your partners with a more concrete proposition for how durable development shifts power and resources closer to communities.


#ShiftThePower is on the move…

The Summit was just one particularly energetic moment in a conversation that has been happening for some time now, made up of multiple voices and actors, which includes but isn’t limited to the growing global community philanthropy field. The GFCF wants to keep that conversation open with others, and in the coming months will be looking to work with partners to #ShiftThePower in various different places, and working on plans for a #ShiftThePower platform that can keep a spotlight on the conversation – and draw in voices and ideas from a broader cross-section of the “community-led” development space.

Evan Bloom & Alexis Smart, Root Change with Jenny Hodgson, GFCF Executive Director 

1.       If you have already mapped, go in and revisit your entries – add, expand, etc. 

« Social capital as a factor in networks and knowledge management among non-profits. Can you spare 15 minutes to contribute to a study? | Main | Will the Summit change anything? A first look at the evaluation »

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