What we think

Perspectives

What we think

Thought leadership from Monitor Institute by Deloitte

Through thought leadership Monitor Institute by Deloitte tracks the evolving terrain of social impact to identify, frame, and disseminate ideas and practices that are designed to advance progress on the most pressing issues of our time, and are often developed in collaboration with others who are working with us “in the trenches” of social change.

Participate: The power of involving business in social impact networks

By Anna Muoio and Noah Flower, September 2016

Monitor Institute has long recognized the importance of meaningful engagement of the private sector in addressing many of the world's most complex problems. While many social sector leaders understand that engaging the private sector matters, far fewer understand how to do so, or the key questions one should consider before starting down this path of cross-sector collaboration. For instance: Why would a network want to include a company? Or conversely, why would a company want to participate in a network focused on social impact? Can social impact efforts deliver business value? What makes network relationships durable? And ultimately, what are the different needs around accountability, leadership, governance, and mindset? To answer questions such as these, and with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, we have created "PARTICIPATE: The power of involving business in social impact networks"—a handbook for social change leaders aspiring to effectively engage the private sector as authentic participants in the pursuit of social impact.

Engage: How funders can support and leverage networks for social impact

By Anna Muoio, Noah Rimland Flower, and Kaitlin Terry, July 2015

This guide was designed to aid any foundation grantmaker who is considering whether to engage with a social impact network and what that engagement might involve. It is organized to step the reader through a range of key questions to consider as in the course of exploring how engaging with a network might play a role in his or her work.

It is a tool to help grantmakers:

  • Think through the critical questions of whether and when to use a network to accelerate impact;
  • Understand their role in supporting a network and how that may change over time;
  • Answer the "upstream" questions around a network’s conception, design, utility, and resource requirements;
  • Learn from real world stories of networks (their funders and leaders) who are using networks to solve a range of tough problems

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Gather: The art & science of effective convening

By Noah Rimland Flower and Anna Muoio, June 2013

Gather is a hands-on guidebook for all convening designers and social change leaders who want to create convenings that tap into a group's collective intelligence and make substantial progress on a shared challenge.

It provides simple frameworks for the questions that are often ignored: whether convening is the right tool to use to advance a strategic agenda, and how a convening can be used to achieve a specific purpose. It then helps readers understand how to customize the design to fit that purpose, laying out a clear series of steps for what is a naturally chaotic workflow. It then offers principles to use for each of the many tactical choices involved.

Drawing on input from 70 expert convening practitioners from across the social sector and decades of published work, Gather is provided by Monitor Institute and Rockefeller Foundation as a public resource to spread the practice of using convenings as a lever for deep, systemic social impact. Gather and its accompanying workshop materials are designed for you to use in your own work, with your team, and with larger groups both inside and outside your organization.

Watch the video and learn more about Gather

The re-emerging art of innovation funding

By Gabriel Kasper and Justin Marcoux, March 2014

As philanthropy has gotten more strategic over the last decade, many foundations have begun to lose their appetite for risk and experimentation. But a small number of funders have begun to intentionally seek out and support high-risk, high-reward innovations with the potential to truly transform our most intractable social challenges.

In this cover article of the Stanford Social Innovation Review we explore the processes and practices used by these "innovation funders" and look at how funding breakthrough innovation differs from more traditional grantmaking approaches. We share a process for intentionally injecting two interrelated innovation principles—transformation and experimentation—into philanthropic processes and systems in order to bring a greater degree of risk-taking, openness, and flexibility into funders’ work.

Although these approaches often take a different shape within each institution, innovation can typically be introduced at five different stages of the funding process: sourcing, selecting, supporting, measuring, and scaling. Read the article to hear a series of stories that illustrate what these activities look like in practice.

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Growth for good or good for growth?: How sustainable and inclusive activities are changing business and why companies aren’t changing enough

By Bhaskar Chakravorti, Graham Macmillan, and Tony Siesfeld, October 2014

Economic growth in emerging markets has outpaced the growth of the supporting institutions that make up the broader context in these markets. There are many "contextual gaps", which can give rise to political, social, and environmental challenges. For businesses, both multinational and local, these markets offer some of the most promising growth opportunities.

These businesses cannot afford to wait for governments, grassroots enterprises, or civil society to close the contextual gaps; nor can they rely on prevailing business-as-usual practices to automatically overcome or resolve the gaps. Businesses must actively find ways to reinforce the contexts that support the very markets they need for sustaining their growth aspirations.With emerging markets accounting for two-thirds of global GDP growth over the past decade and about 40 percent of current global output, investing in contextual strength is becoming an essential business need.

That context has given rise to a new wave of growth in sustainable and inclusive business activities (SIBA). But as much as the adoption of SIBA has grown, it has a long ways to go. This report analyzes what motivates companies to engage in SIBA, what challenges they face, and provides a set of recommendations for what philanthropy can do to help advance and spread these essential changes in how business is done.

This work was done in partnership with Citi Foundation and the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

What's next for community philanthropy

Initiative led by Gabriel Kasper, September 2013

The world is changing rapidly. Inescapable demographic, technological, economic, environmental, and social trends are reshaping our communities and altering the landscape of philanthropy. Keeping pace will be a challenge for community philanthropy: in today's rapidly changing context, the systems that are helping community philanthropy organizations thrive right now may not meet the needs of their users in the future.

Yet the status quo is not an option. Place by place, community philanthropy organizations will need to figure out what to hold onto, what to let go of, and what to create anew to better meet the evolving needs of their communities. We launched the What's Next for Community Philanthropy initiative in January 2013 to engage community foundations and other community philanthropy organizations in a large-scale innovation and design process to help them open up to new models and new possibilities that will help them better serve their communities in the years ahead.

Download What's next for community philanthropy for more information.

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Wicked opportunities: Deloitte Business Trends 2015

By William D. Eggers and Anna Muoio, April 2015

"Wicked problems"—ranging from malaria to dwindling water supplies—are being reframed as "wicked opportunities" and tackled by networks of nongovernmental organizations, social entrepreneurs, governments, and big businesses.

This optimism is part of the broader trend of organizations increasingly seeing themselves as part of broader ecosystems rather than siloed into specific industries or issue areas, enabling these networks to attract participants from across the three sectors and marshal a new level of both resources and coordination.

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Value exchange tool

By Jarasa Kanok, Noah Rimland Flower, and Megan Schumann, May 2015

Opportunities to partner with other organizations often feel difficult to evaluate for both parties. Since each organization brings a unique mix of resources and capabilities, every potential partnership can feel bespoke. This can be particularly challenging when one party is a business and the other is a nonprofit, and the leadership teams on each side are less certain about what value to look for in a partner.

Choosing whether and how to partner is made easier by viewing any potential partnership arrangement through the lens of four contributions that an organization might provide: reach, assets, reputation, and capabilities. The value exchange tool is a simple method for considering what a partner could potentially contribute, stacking up what a potential partner brings, and representing the value exchange at the heart of the partnership in a single visual.

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