Smashing Silos in Philanthropy

The crises affecting our nation and the world have prompted philanthropists to become more organized, focused and "strategic" in their efforts. The movement toward "strategic philanthropy" has contributed to greater philanthropic effectiveness in many ways. However, the increased focus on narrow issue silos that seems integral to this approach is marginalizing an important part of the social change ecosystem.

Groups that have longstanding roots in communities and that work to address multiple issues confront great difficulty in fundraising while foundations overwhelmingly direct grants to professionalized, often well-resourced, organizations working exclusively on that grantmaker's preferred issue. This limits the ultimate effectiveness of philanthropy and undermines funders' ability to see discernible improvements in education, health, the arts, the environment and all other issues.


Smashing Silos in Philanthropy Reports


Smashing Silos in Philanthropy: Multi-Issue Advocacy and Organizing for Real Results

by Niki Jagpal and Kevin Laskowski
November 2013

In this report, NCRP urges foundations that want to see breakthroughs on issues including poverty alleviation, protecting our environment, improving our education system and other complex issues to fund cross-issue grassroots organizations as part of their overall grantmaking strategy. These organizations organize and mobilize multiple constituents and citizens to cultivate the power, leadership and relationships necessary to move the needle toward lasting solutions.

It identifies commonly perceived challenges to funding multi-issue advocacy and organizing and also offers ideas on ways that grantmakers can address these challenges. The report includes seven practical tips for foundations that want to effectively fund multi-issue advocacy and organizing. Learn more


Coming Soon

Investing in leadership is another important way that grantmakers support change and help move their work and that of their grantees beyond silos. Part II of the "Smashing Silos in Philanthropy" series, coming in 2014, will explore the importance of investments in leadership. Stay tuned!

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