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Funders’ Collaborative Hub - August 2020 update

About the Funders’ Collaborative Hub

The Funders’ Collaborative Hub is an initiative designed to coordinate and amplify the contribution that foundations can make to the recovery of the sector from Covid-19. Our intention is to enable increased understanding, closer alignment and more opportunities for collaboration across the foundation sector to ensure a more powerful and effective response to the impact of the pandemic. While the initial audience for the work is the foundation sector, ultimately the Hub will support civil society stakeholders and society as a whole. You can find out more about it here.

The work so far

Since the June update, a small volunteer project group convened by ACF and consisting of foundation and sector representatives has been collecting insights from foundations and civil society and developing and testing concepts for delivery. The project group is applying an agile approach to design in which ideas are be explored, tested and refined iteratively, and as the needs of the sector emerge. These were presented to the Hub’s Strategy Group in July, which agreed a set of next steps. ACF is in the process of appointing two freelance consultants, starting in August, to expand the capacity of the Project Group and provide continuity of support as the work on the Hub develops.

Since June the project group has worked on four principal tasks:

1. Research with funder collaborations

The project group has been working with existing and emerging funder collaborations –spokes – based on geography, sector and theme. A primary series of focused, in-depth interviews were used to collect insights which informed initial thinking and development. Further consultation and engagement with spokes is due to begin shortly on beta testing the Hub platform.

2. Development of a Funder Hub micro-site

In order to understand the emerging and dynamic needs of the sector, the project group has created an interim platform on which to collect live enquiries, questions and activities from funders and others.

Funders can view the site and add details here

This agile micro-site will help us understand where to go to find information and resources for the Hub platform. It will also assess the appetite of the sector for engagement in this way – a proof of concept for the Hub platform. To be effective we need to build a critical mass of data about Covid-related funder collaborations on this site and so we’d be grateful if funders can promote this site through your funder networks.

3. Design workshops and interviews

Through a series of workshops and interviews we have explored in depth funders’ concerns, questions, challenges, requirements and ambitions in order to shape our thinking about the form and nature of the Hub (of which a platform may be just one element). The findings from this work will be used alongside the data collected from the microsite, and the primary research with spokes, to inform further development.

The design workshops have been led by Cassie Robinson from the National Lottery Community Fund, and she has summarised her thoughts in a blog here.

4. Building a prototype Hub platform

Using insights from the research, testing and data collection we have started to build a digital platform to support and deliver certain functions of the Hub. Initially the platform will provide a space for the curation of information about spokes in order to support organisations researching opportunities for collaboration. Additional functionality will be developed in response to demand and feedback. Beta testing of the platform with selected spokes will take place in September.

How to get involved

The success of the Funders’ Collaborative Hub depends on the involvement of a wide and diverse range of organisations and we welcome all contributions and thoughts. If you would like to provide input please contact Max Rutherford, Head of Policy (max@acf.org.uk).

To receive regular updates about our work please email policy@acf.org.uk to join the stakeholder list.

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