In this synopsis of other literature, the Baring Foundation report:

  • Lacking the profit motive of the market, the voter accountability of governments and the fundraising, operational and beneficiary demands of other parts of the voluntary sector, foundations are unusually free of constraints. They also have  a uniquely long term horizon.
  • Foundations often constrain themselves to quite traditional forms of grant-making, part of their advantage is a freedom to chose the most effective approach
  • Foundations should chose to act in the space they can best influence.
  • Often foundations jump into giving a grant in a new area without a thorough analysis of the causes, shape and size of an issue.
  • Different forms of funding lend themselves broadly to different interventions. Its not just abou grants.
  • Foundations can convene alliances and play a brokerage role
  • Foundations both tend to financially neglect evaluation, but also operate in environments where it can be technically difficult.
  • Foundations can effect the sustainability of the solution that they are pursuing through changing the policy environment or law, through changing the funding environment and by support for voluntary organisations to be strong, resilient bodies.
  • But these approaches are so rarely used systematically and rigorously!

Source: Baring Foundation, The Effective Foundation