Oct 27, 2020
In this episode, we talk to Louise Pulford, Josiane Smith and
Dame Julia Unwin about the findings from a new global horizon scan
by the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), looking at the challenges
and opportunities facing philanthropy post-Covid. In a wide-ranging
conversation we discussed:
- How many trends in philanthropic funding we are seeing during
the pandemic will lead to longer-term changes? How can we be more
intentional about pursuing those we want to see?
- How has the pandemic accelerated or altered existing debates
- What can we learn from historical examples of how philanthropy
has responded to crises? Or from places in the world where crisis
response is part of the normal role for philanthropy?
- To what extent is it true that “what we did before a crisis is
who we are in a crisis”? i.e. is the response of different funders
a reflection of their existing ethos and practice, or have some
genuinely changed what they do?
- How do funders balance the immediate short-term demands of a
crisis with their role in supporting issues over the
- Has the pandemic affected relationships between philanthropic
funders and government around the world? If so, for better or
- We are seeing the emergence of new organisational models within
civil society, including many that look less like traditional
hierarchies and more like networks. What opportunities and
challenges might this bring?
- We are also seeing new approaches such as participatory
grantmaking, which seek to shift power as well as money towards
recipients, gain traction? Will this be a big trend in coming
- Do charities and funders need to be more transparent? If so,
why and about what? Who does it benefit?
- What is the core role of philanthropy within society which
differentiates it from either state or market provision?
- What should we make of criticisms that since philanthropy is to
some extent a product of structural inequality, it can never truly
be part of the solution? Do some donors and funders recognise the
challenges and are genuinely pursuing structural change?
- Should cross-cutting issues such as the climate crisis or
racial justice not be seen as “causes”, but as factors that all
funders need to take into account in their work?
- How can we ensure funders and CSOs are in a better position to
address future crises?