inFocus works with philanthropic organisations that provide grants or other forms of support to 3rd party organisations that deliver programmes or initiatives. Funders include non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community groups, governmental or inter-governmental agencies and private sector companies. Our consultancy services are specifically designed to address some of the key challenges that funders face.
Challenges and Solutions
There can be a lack of clarity regarding the specific social change that a funder is looking to achieve, which can subsequently obstruct the identification of best-fit grantee organisations that are working to achieve those results.
We help to provide focus and direction about practical social change and help to identify ideal organisations and activities to fund. We do this by helping funders develop and implement a robust funding strategy and planning to scale the impact of their investments over time.
Decisions about funding particular organisations is sometimes based on insufficient data and evidence about how current grant-funded activities are delivering social impact and demonstrate a good return on investment.
We support funders to measure and evaluate the social impact of grant programs. We do this by helping funders to track the impact of grants with effective processes, materials and training, build the SIM capacity of grantees to provide good quality data and benchmark overall efforts against similar organisations.
There is often a lack of information and guidance regarding what are the best or most cost effective solutions to bring about social change, in a given context or situation.
We set up and run learning communities that provide a place for practitioners to share frontline knowledge between grantees and across the wider field, and translate this into better quality and consistency of grassroots delivery.
Developing and Implementing a funding strategy
We provide focus and direction about the social changes funders wish to generate and help to identify the ideal organisations and activities working in the sector. We help funders to:
- Develop a funder-specific Theory of Change as a part of a top-level strategy to explore whether the funder’s desired social impact that is aligned with their preferred approach and grant making values. We facilitate the clear consideration of which activities to fund in order to achieve the desired social goals.
- We bring funding strategies to life by improving grant management processes throughout the grant management cycle (see to the right) and train staff on key aspects of grant management.
Grant Management & Social Impact Measurement (SIM) Services
We help funders to track and measure their grant making success, to facilitate learning and to communicate community impact more powerfully. Together, result-driven learning and communication improves marketing and fundraising effectiveness. To fully implement a successful funding strategy, decisions and actions should be based upon high quality evidence about which currently supported projects are working well. We help funders to:
- Build their internal social impact measurement capacity by measuring their own activities’ impact (such as advocacy or capacity building) and the impact of their funding for grantees and their beneficiaries.
- Build grantee SIM capacity through a combination of inFocus support and support from own trained grant managers.
- Identify the strongest candidates from their current grantee portfolio, for further support in ‘scaling’ the impact of their projects in future (see our process below).
- Support current grantees so that they can reach their full potential.
- Create shared measurement for funder-driven coalitions and networks by providing guidance about effective shared measurement protocols and frameworks. This increases the learning across the whole system and better demonstrates the impact across all actors.
- Create benchmarking processes that encourage a greater level of transparency across a field of action and allow funders to gauge their work effectively against other impact-driven funders.
Independent Research, Evaluation and Learning
We help to generate and share knowledge between grantees and between grantees and funders. Our learnings are presented with action-driven strategies designed to increase the quality and consistency of programme delivery.
- Our team is comprised of experienced practitioners who are trained to bridge the gap between traditional research and practical evaluation. We provide a range of different evaluation approaches and methodologies suited to either individual projects or complex funding programmes. We systematically explore and document what is working and highlight areas to for further improvement to help funders explore overall impact strategies.
- Our Communities of Practice (CoP) further the Learning Community’s work through democratically led processes, and are comprised of three components:
- The Domain: Commitment to a set of agreed ideal, achievable social impacts in a particular thematic area.
- The Community: Members engage in joint activities, help each other, and share information. Their relationships are designed to support and learn from one another.
- The Practice: Comprised only of thematic-specialist practitioners who are working in the area, members develop resources such as experiences, tools, and ways of overcoming common impact barriers.