Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bridgespan Releases Report about Nonprofit Feedback on Social Innovation Fund

Earlier this month, the Bridgespan Group, an advisor to nonprofits and philanthropic organizations, announced the release of a new report detailing responses from interviews and surveys of nonprofits that have received funds through the federal government's Social Innovation Fund (SIF). Entitled How Is Investing in "What Works" Working? Early Feedback from Nonprofits Participating in the Social Innovation Fund, the report presents preliminary findings on how thse nonprofits perceive the impact of the SIF with respect to things such as their ability to attract additional funding and the emphasis that funders, both private and public, place on evidence when making funding decisions.

The SIF, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, seeks to use limited federal funding with support from grantmaking "intermediaries" to support the expansion of nonprofits with strong evidence of success in one of three areas: youth development, health and economic opportunity. These intermediary organizations in turn make grants to nonprofit organizations, or "subgrantees," that meet certain criteria with respect to evidence of past performance and promise of scalability. Subgrantees are responsible for securing matching funds of at least one dollar for every dollar received from the SIF.

The findings of the report were drawn from 12 in-depth interviews with the leadership of nonprofits receiving SIF funds and an online survey administered in August of this year to all 197 subgrantees that received funding since the program's inception in 2009. Major preliminary findings include nonprofit perceptions of:
  • Increased funder concern for evidence of effectiveness, particularly in the federal government and foundations;
  • The need for government to "identify and fund proven solutions/evidence-based practices" as a systems change;
  • The need for government to "clarify and consistently use high standards of evidence."
The complete report can be accessed by visiting Bridgespan's website here.

For more information about the SIF, please view previous posts from our blog here.

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