Back in March, in his blog ‘Money, Money, Money‘, John Downie kicked off our collaboration with the sector and funders to develop funding principles, approaches and models fit for purpose for the climate we’re in the midst of. The climate of doing more with less, finding new solutions for increasingly complex problems and providing the people we care about and support with consistently high-quality service.

When that blog was published, we were wading through the output from The Gathering.  We’re delighted that we’re now able to share that with you and gather your further thoughts. 

From the masses of contributions, the following stood out as critical overarching themes:

  • Relationships at a personal and organisational level are critical.  This is reflected in an emerging piece of work being led by Evaluation Support Scotland called ‘Perfect Partnerships’.  
  • Co-design, collaboration through the development of ideas and activities whilst maintaining an honest and transparent dialogue needs to be built on

But they’re not principles.  We’ll need to find some space to reflect these themes through the models and approaches without it getting too complex. 

To set the scene let’s go back to first principles and remind ourselves of what organisations in the third sector and funders want to do. At its highest motherhood and apple pie level this could be summed up as ‘Giving people the opportunity to live the best life they can’.  At any point in time we can take out a chunk of society who are able to do that unsupported. But that will always leave us with many people who can’t. 

Organisations articulate this in their own ways. National Lottery Community Fund talks about ‘making a positive impact within the UK’. The Robertson Trust has a mission to ‘improve the quality of life and realise the potential of Scotland’s people and communities’. SCVO talks about Third sector organisations and funders working in partnership to support change and improvement within communities (whether geographic or thematic).

So, with the above in mind, what did participants at The Gathering come up with for the draft principles?   

Our first drafting has boiled this down to three high level statements with a number of bullet points underneath to give a flavour of what might sit underneath this:

A shared vision of the ‘big picture’ and specific impact to be achieved

  • Understood shared vision
  • Relationships
  • Ideas
  • Open dialogue
  • Risk understanding and mitigation

A culture of continuous learning and development at all levels

  • Collaboration
  • Conversations and making it personal
  • Co-design
  • Honesty and authenticity
  • Value of choice within communities

A relevant and proportionate approach to application development, assessment and project management  

  • Relationships
  • Accessibility
  • Support for the development of applications
  • Collaboration

Over the next few weeks we’re going to be talking to groups of people who want to get more involved in this conversation. We’ll also be hosting another event on June 6th in Edinburgh – watch our Twitter page for details on how to book!