Video: Mark Kramer on the Need for a New Approach to Funding

As fiscal pressures continue to intensify and many of our most pressing social and environmental problems persist, discussions around the need for funders to become more strategic and effective in their grant-making abound.

In this week’s video, Mark Kramer, co-founder and Managing Director of FSG and the author of influential publications on catalytic philanthropy, collective impact, and shared value, contributes his views on the topic.

During this recorded talk, Kramer highlights an often overlooked but key difference between giving away money well and solving social problems, arguing that funders have a greater responsibility than simply writing cheques. Given the complexity of many of the seemingly intractable social issues facing us, Kramer believes a new approach to funding is called for – one that moves beyond pinpointing the organization with the best solution, funding it, and then scaling up its operations.

The stark reality is that there are no silver bullets for solving critical issues like poverty, chronic unemployment, and climate change, as much as we’d love there to be. Instead, successfully overcoming these types of complex challenges requires collaborative, cross-sector efforts by multiple players. For this reason, Kramer feels strongly that a shift in the current funding model needs to occur – a shift that moves from primarily finding and funding “the solution” to helping the private, public, and nonprofit sectors work more effectively together around an issue over time.

What do you think of Kramer’s ideas for a new, more collaborative approach to funding? Is the shift he recommends feasible? And, if so, how can both funders and agencies move from a model that is primarily concerned with isolated impact and attribution to one that prioritizes collective impact and contributions?

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