Smaller foundations have structural advantage in some areas, finds report


Alliance magazine


While smaller foundations may be constrained by limited resources, capacity, or time – they have an advantage when it comes to pursuing ambitious practice because they can be more agile.

This finding was published in a new report, out this week, from the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), which focused on the benefits of small foundations when it comes to pursuing ambitious and effective practice and achieving impact in pursuit of their mission.

Smaller foundations can be more agile in their decision-making, better connected to local communities, leaner in their bureaucracy, and are able to ‘stick or twist’ with their objectives more flexibly, the report found.

‘Smaller foundations are the lifeblood of our sector – their commitment and creativity is truly inspiring,’ said ACF’s CEO, Carol Mack. ‘As this report brings out so clearly, it is a complete myth that foundations need lots of staff and resources to make a difference to the communities and causes that they care about. I’d like to thank the ACF Smaller funders network for their insights which made it possible for us to develop this resource, and hope that the result is a source of both support and inspiration for the many smaller foundations we are proud to serve as members of ACF.’

This short report highlights 10 ‘pillars of practice’ from the Stronger Foundations initiative that smaller foundations are particularly well-placed to pursue, whatever their remit, level of resource, or operating model. These pillars were selected with input from ACF’s Smaller funders network, a community that involves nearly 150 foundation staff and trustee representatives. Examples of how smaller foundations are pursuing ambitious practice related to these pillars are included throughout.

Download 10 Pillars of Stronger Practice.

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