What Do We Prioritize?

Hope your 2018 is off to a good start. Personally, I’m moving into the year slowly, approaching it with increased intentionality and focus, and an eye towards hubs of connection. All of us have many demands on our time, energy, money, and other resources. So the question becomes: what do we prioritize, and what falls by the wayside as a consequence?

This month, my colleague Anna Koob and her counterpart Sarah Tansey at the Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN) released a fascinating set of new trends data that revealed a 44% increase in human rights funding worldwide between 2011-2015 (from $1.4 billion to over $2 billion). This increase over time is really fantastic, and reflective of shifting contexts, targeted strategies, and increased dialogue. But, a look behind the headlining numbers shows that there are always consequences. For example, while non-traditional funding approaches like advocacy and systems reform went up, support for research and documentation dropped over the five year period, as did support for people with disabilities—the only population in fact to suffer a decrease. Is that a consequence we’re comfortable with? (I’m not!) As we independently invest in our own strategies and focus areas, it’s important to come up for air, look at the bigger picture, and recalibrate as needed.   

Just as funder associations like HRFN are hubs for important dialogue, data, and action in various issue areas and geographies, I’ve become really excited about our Funding Information Network (FIN) partners around the globe, which are free hubs for accessing philanthropy data and resources made available by Foundation Center. I believe strongly that increasing access to knowledge gives people more agency in shaping solutions, and that’s why organizationally, we’re focused on growing this network. (Help us!)

I’m currently prioritizing lots of thinking and editing on FOUR new GrantCraft papers that will launch this year, plus a bonus RELAUNCH of our funder advocacy research from last year. What else should be on my radar? Shoot me an email anytime.

This letter originally appeared in this week's GrantCraft newsletter. To sign up for our newsletter and special alerts, register for free.

About the author(s)

Director of Stakeholder Engagement