We are excited to announce our upcoming event Losing Control in Funding & Commissioning.
The blog below provides context for the event. To get your tickets now visit the booking page here
How can funders & commissioners do more to support movements, communities and networks – not just projects, programmes and organisations?
What are the risks and dangers in this approach? How can they be managed, embraced and enhanced to create impact?
These are just some of the questions we will be exploring at our upcoming event Losing Control in Funding & Commissioning
When: Wednesday March 4, 2020
Where: London. The Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith St, London, SW1P 3BU
There is a growing understanding that standard, narrowly defined and prescriptive approaches to funding & commissioning are not suited to addressing many of the social challenges we face
The world and people’s lives are messy and very often do not follow predictable patterns; set targets can create perverse incentives to achieve them rather than address underlying causes; compassion and humanity can easily be lost in the name of efficiency; there is a tendency to focus on weaknesses and deficits, rather than the strengths and assets of those to whom support is targeted.
Yet finding alternatives is not easy. It requires a funder or commissioner to live with a great deal of uncertainty; to accept failure as part of the learning process; to trust people and communities more to take a lead; to invest over the long-term and build lasting relationships; or even just decide to get out of the way. All of this goes against the grain of the pervasive legal, compliance and governance systems of many institutions. There are real challenges too, with finding the right balance between letting go and allocating scarce funding responsibly and fairly.
These challenges can place immense pressure to revert to business as usual. Worse, perhaps they can also lead to paying lip service to concepts such as ‘movement-building’, ‘coproduction’ or ‘asset-based community development’ without making any fundamental changes . In the end this can do a great deal more harm than good – promising much, but in the end with the same underlying approaches and power dynamics. This can leave people more disillusioned than when they started, and can crowd out or distract from genuine attempts to rebalance power and control.
This event is a chance to hear from, meet, get support from and give support to others that are trying to find effective ways to fund or commission movements, networks and communities. We believe that sharing stories, opportunities and challenges in safe spaces like this can help to build relationships, raise awareness and encourage critical reflection. For us this is a vital part of bringing about meaningful and effective change on the ground.
Please get in touch with karen@thesocialchangeagency if you have an important story to share, if you would like to host a targeted circle to connect with peers, or if you would like to use this event to get help with a challenge you are facing.