In July 2014, Fund for Shared Insight launched with an initial theory of change for how collective funding to support feedback practice, feedback research, and foundation sharing could ultimately improve philanthropy.
Along with the high - level visuals depicted, Shared Insight also identified outputs and short - , medium - , and long - term outcomes for each of the three focus areas.
More than 18 months have passed since the launch of Shared Insight. In that time, two rounds of grants have been made, initial grantees have had a year of experience and a new initiative, Listen for Good, has been developed. At this mid-point, we can make an early assessment of progress, based on data to date, and identify opportunities for refined thinking about the theory of change. This memo is intended to serve as a starting point for a discussion among the core funders about their impressions of progress, possible revisions to the theory of change, and the implications for the work of Shared Insight going forward.
The memo is organized by the original three focus areas (i.e. feedback practice, feedback research, foundation sharing), along with reflections on the Shared Insight collaborative and funder outreach, and other observations on the theory of change. For each area, we provide the data available to date, as well as observations from our role as evaluation partner. We have assessed progress as "on track", "slightly off track" or "off track". As this is early on and specific targets were not set, these are by nature subjective and open for discussion.
In considering progress and lessons, it's important to keep in mind that Shared Insight has taken an emergent approach to its grantmaking, acknowledging from the beginning that, unlike an approach that begins with a strong set of hypotheses about change, there is much to learn about how to improve philanthropy so that foundations better listen and share to support greater impact. Having open RFP processes, too, means that in some areas there were less targeted work than could have been the case with an invited/closed RFP process. Finally, it is important to acknowledge that this work is laying the foundation for long - term change, changes that potentially would occur outside the life of Shared Insight itself. Progress is assessed with this timeframe in mind.