Entrepreneurial funding

(1) Entrepreneurial funding and assistance through social venture capital

(2) Overall support for organisations – not just one-off project financing

(3) The ‘sniffer dog’ approach

(4) Active support

(5) Our expectations: we look for genuine partners

(6) Strengthening networks

(7) Supporting organisations through joint-funding

(8) The funding process

(9) Ready to learn

Learning Foundation

In 2019, the Schöpflin Foundation conducted a partner survey to review its own funding strategy and methodology after four years of funding activity. For the partner survey, 82 current and former funding partners as well as "critical friends" were contacted, more than 80% of whom participated. We commissioned an external service provider, Wider Sense GmbH, to carry out the survey. This was to ensure that all information remained completely anonymous.

Basically, the results of the partner survey confirmed the path taken by the foundation and strengthened our self-image as a "learning foundation" that admits and allows mistakes, acts entrepreneurially and pragmatically and also takes a political position. We have also been strengthened in our aim to support NGOs and social enterprises in their long-term organizational support in a spirit of partnership and on an equal footing, and to supplement the support with capacity building, coaching and networking.

With regard to our funding methods and strategy, however, points of criticism, suggestions and wishes were also expressed. We have therefore taken the results of the partner survey as an opportunity not only to reflect on our funding methods and strategy, but also to sharpen our own position as a foundation and to derive further steps for the future from this. We have identified the following main wishes of the funding partners with regard to the funding process:

  • More transparency and process clarity during the funding initiation, funding phases and prolongation.
  • Clarity about the mutual expectations of the support, also about capacity building and networking.
  • Professionalization not only on the part of the funding partners, but also on the part of the contact persons in the foundation (further development of one's own competences).

We believe that we have the same fundamental understanding of a successful partnership as our funding partners in the most important points. This can only be achieved on the basis of a relationship based on trust, for which, in turn, transparency, clear communication of mutual expectations and tolerance of error on both sides are fundamental.

PDF Download Results of the partner survey (Wider Sense)

Anna Häßlin
E-Mail: anna.haesslin@remove-this.schoepflin-stiftung.de

Following the criticisms, suggestions and wishes of our funding partners, we have defined the Schöpflin Foundation's position in funding partnerships in 10 basic principles. In addition, we have decided on changes and adjustments in our funding methodology and our funding processes in various fields of action.

These include, but are not limited to

Initiation of funding:

  • Clear process communication by the program managers and the setting of four fixed dates per year at which funding decisions are made. However, we will not formulate a fixed catalogue of criteria for funding, nor can we specify a fixed period of time until a decision is ready.

Funding commitment:

  • Joint determination of the milestones to be achieved, mutual expectations and responsibilities (e.g. in the case of prolongations etc.) on the basis of a guideline and documentation of the agreements reached here.

Funding phase:

  • Clear communication and comparison of mutual expectations. Planning security for the funding partners through early decision on prolongations. Further development of the foundation's expertise through further training of the program managers (e.g. commercial area and organizational development). Coordination of expectations with regard to networking. Long-term support, because trust takes time.

Capacity building:

  • We are firmly convinced of the importance of coaching and capacity building for the further development of an organization. Our offer of such measures may therefore be part of the funding agreement in the future. Here, however, an expectation comparison is made with the wishes and needs from the point of view of the funding partners.

Close support:

  • We continue to believe in the added value of close support for our funding partners. The program managers act in the role of a critical sparring partner who has an eye on the development of the organization as well as the agreed milestones and who remains in discussion about deviations (which are not generally excluded).

Funding consortia:

  •  We cannot fundamentally resolve the power gap that exists between funding agencies and funding recipients. However, we are convinced that a partnership at eye level can be realized through long-term cooperation based on trust. A good way to reduce the dependency of organizations on individual donors is to create funding consortia.

We therefore see our opportunities as a foundation to contribute to a successful funding partnership above all in close, long-term support that is characterized by transparency and process clarity and has the goal of firmly anchoring our funding partners in the field through networking, consulting and capacity building.

PDF Download »Our attitude in funding partnerships: 10 basic principles«

Anna Häßlin
E-Mail: anna.haesslin@remove-this.schoepflin-stiftung.de

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