Moving On – Ending Program Partnerships and Funding Relationships is No Rocket Science

Some foundations may aspire to exist forever, but there is no such thing as funding in perpetuity. All funding relations have a beginning and an end, or at least after some time into the relationship or program, a (profound) transformation takes place.  This happens when the intervention sponsored is temporary in itself, or when the foundation decides to shift policies and priorities or adopt a spend-out strategy. Exits can also be abrupt, triggered by an emergency, a financial crisis, a change of context or an irreconcilable conflict between partners.

Grantcraft/EFC is developing a new guide on dealing with exiting and moving on.  It will be a sequel to an earlier publication, “The Effective Exit – managing the end of a funding relationship.  We will explore in depth exits of both grant making and operating foundations. For this second edition we will try to draw on the experiences from foundations all over the world. Over the last few weeks, we have been connecting with several key informants who have either been involved in exits, or are currently working on an exit relationship, or who work  for a spend out foundation that is about to close its doors.  The landscape shows a very rich panorama, especially as we will also include new actors on the block as are the venture philanthropists who are very deliberate about exiting. It is unlikely we will find the ultimate recipe, but without a doubt there will be plenty that can be learned from how other foundations manage their exits. And good exits are do-able: as one of our informants puts it “all in all exiting is no rocket science” .

In this project Grantcraft will be using all sorts  of social media channels to gather information, stories and background material. We will blog on the development of the guide and share impressions and ‘trouvailles’ along the way. In short we like to take you along when we explore how foundations move on.

Zsofi Lang who works with GrantCraft in Brussels has created this visual as a first attempt to illustrate some issues in the process of exiting and moving on. For each area, there are one or two questions that may inspire (self-) reflection or dialogue in your team or with your partners. As we share findings along the way, we very much hope that you will contribute your experience and ideas to this project.  We would like to hear your stories of exits. We want to learn about concrete experiences, those with inspiring features as well as those with flaws. Experiences that you think your peers could learn from, preferably with examples that illustrate what foundations – in certain cases and under specific circumstances - should do and should not do.  We also hope you will share resources and tools you have used in exits.  If you are a Delicious bookmarker: we use the tag ‘moving_on’. Looking forward to hear from you!