UK foundations measure themselves with ACF’s Stronger Foundations tool


Alliance magazine


A new report from ACF compiling data from more than 50 charitable foundations using the Stronger Foundations self-assessment tool has found that UK foundations are most confident when it comes to funding practices and achieving impact but feel they have further to travel on aspects of diversity and investment.

The self-assessment tool, which was launched in December 2020, helps foundations benchmark themselves against some or all the Stronger Foundations initiative’s 40 ‘pillars of practice’.

‘We have used the tool as a way of baselining our practice in areas where we are developing our thinking and practice. As we build our learning strategy, we took the survey to get a feel for where we might need to do more work, speak to Trustees and other stakeholders and, frankly, educate ourselves. It is a facilitative and supportive framework for improving practice and finding a way into the accumulated wisdom about what ‘good’ is in our sector’, said Danielle Walker Palmour, Director of the Friends Provident Foundation.

The foundations that have used the tool so far completed more than 70 surveys across six themes, including diversity, investment, transparency and strategy. The report showcases the many contexts in which the tool has been used, from board meetings to team away days, including as a prompt for difficult discussions. It also includes quotes from foundation leaders across the UK describing the benefits of using the tool in their own words.

‘The fact that more than 50 of our members have used the new self-assessment tool in its first six months to benchmark themselves against the pillars of stronger foundation practice is something to celebrate. That they have done so in the midst of a global pandemic really does demonstrate the enthusiasm and commitment of foundations in the UK to be ambitious and effective with all their resources. We’re delighted so many have benefitted from the tool, and that they found it easy to use in a wide variety of contexts,’ said ACF CEO Carol Mack.

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