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Making Change Happen: An Emerging Approach to Planning for Impact

As funders we have all been making grants for many years to help organisations tackle ingrained social issues. While the groups we support help individuals and communities to make positive changes in their lives, there are often blockages and disconnects that make it impossible for them to effect how things are done at a wider societal level. In these situations there is often a structural breakdown.

The `System` for social change may need refocusing and a new energy generated to help `rethink` how a given issue could be addressed. We felt that we needed a new approach to address these sort of issues, alongside traditional grant making. We are a collaboration of six foundations and Social Finance working together as the Impact Incubator to test a new model of working. For five years the Impact Incubator has been working to address difficult issues e.g. mental health inequality, domestic violence, children leaving care, refugee integration.

These are issues that often fall between the cracks and across the remits of different organisations and need collaboration to establish better joined up approaches. Many of these issues exist in an environment of fragmentation where coalitions of the willing need to be at the heart of making progress. The Impact Incubator builds these, raises ambition around addressing an issue and generates momentum for change.

This report is a first step in sharing the Impact Incubator approach and learnings over the last few years. It is still work in progress, but we hope that by sharing our learning to date openly others can build on our approach.