Win-Win Projects

Successful partnership projects maximize the assets of both partners and produce benefits for both sides.

Pilot projects can serve as “labs” for determining the effectiveness of an approach and its ability to be replicated or diffused in other places. Government gains flexibility to try out new models while also testing the waters for potential political or community opposition. Philanthropy learns what works in actual communities and, if replicated, achieves more impact.

System reforms and innovations make public services more effective, fair, or efficient. Government gets the benefit of foundation-supported research and other assets that improve the quality of implementation. Philanthropy gets a chance to advance widespread change and, often, see at close range the real challenges of implementing new policy.

Research projects enable both government and philanthropy to learn more about issues of shared concern. Government shapes a research agenda that addresses pressing, real-world problems and gets relevant, reliable information more rapidly. Philanthropy stays abreast of what’s taking place in the public sector and gets added assurance that funded research will be put to use.

Policy development projects enable government and philanthropy to generate and vet promising policy solutions. Government benefits from third-party, independent research and engages communities in reviewing policies before they are enacted. Philanthropy learns about policy’s practical constraints and helps to improve complex systems.

Public engagement processes increase community members’ participation in identifying problems and creating plans to address them. Government receives a more candid picture of public views, as well as the opportunity to receive public “weigh in” and, ultimately, “buy in.” Philanthropy helps to amplify community voices, increase government accountability, and learn about public views and problems.

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 Government.