Big shifts in the political and policy environment mean big shifts in how foundations think about and engage in advocacy. Now more than ever, funders need to learn from each other and put bolder, more effective approaches and strategies into action.
Put Learning to Use.
Don't let the wide array of learning and knowledge sit idly on a shelf or unopened in your inbox. Philanthropy is fortunate to have the resources, time, and space to reflect about our experiences, learn from what's been done before, and put that learning to use going forward. It's a unique opportunity that grantmakers cannot afford to miss.
Spread the Word.
Don't keep the good stuff to yourself. Keep learning from other foundations and advocates, share what you know with peers and allies, and push partners to strengthen and improve.
Whether it's in a strategy session, planning meeting, or board retreat, you have a voice in philanthropy and advocacy. Use it. So much of the Atlas research was made better by sharp, candid insights from program officers, policy experts, advocates, and evaluators alike. Yet all too often in philanthropy, these kinds of observations and ideas go unsaid in the venues where it's most important to speak up.
There's a lot at stake in the choices foundations make now and in the foreseeable future. Policy and advocacy fights will not be short-lived or easily won. But, with smart thinking, bold action, and sustained focus, funders and advocates will be better positioned to instigate more lasting progress.