Funder’s Role in Planning and Development

  • Strive for balance. Many contributors said that they struggle with the tension between participating fully in planning discussions and dominating the conversation.
  • Let plans take shape at a reasonable pace. Grantmakers are often impatient to see rapid progress, sometimes before other participants in the planning are ready. One grantmaker reflected, “If I had it to do again, I would have recognized at the get-go that this was going to need a tremendous amount of time to just build the initial trust and the initial vocabulary so that we could move forward, and to let that grow at its own pace instead of feeling like it wasn’t moving fast enough."
  • Match help with need. It can be tempting (and costly) to load up a start-up process with technical resources, only to discover that the result was too much advice and expertise — more than the organizers of the project needed or could absorb all at once. It’s important to be sure that a start-up effort is getting as much technical expertise as it needs, but grantmakers caution against overwhelming the project with too much outside help.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Working with Start-Ups.