This was how we had internally billed the second in a series of workshops bringing together funders and charities across Scotland. 

Our aim for this stream of work is to develop high level principles and models for re-focussing how funders and charities work together across Scotland

How ‘space for ideas’ would shape up was unknown but we wanted it to be creative, bold and fun.  We wanted to create a level playing field between funder and charity participants.  An exercise to understand how they felt in their day jobs revealed some interesting similarities

Moving everyone back into the mindset of thinking boldly and strategically started with the group affirming the principles drafted from The Gathering workshop:

  • A shared vision of the ‘big picture’ and specific impact to be achieved
  • A culture of continuous learning and development at all levels
  • A relevant and proportionate approach to application development, assessment and project management

Moving on we wanted to continue with participants being positive, ambitious and brave in exploring and visioning new models and ways of working.

We created a space for ideas to flourish and in return it was filled with the sensitive and positive views of more than fifty experienced leaders from across the voluntary and funding sectors.  These leaders brought different perspectives and stimulated creative thinking so that seven types of models were proposed – all of which were workshopped.

  • Outcome focussed
  • Heed the voice of the community
  • Business / campaigning analogy
  • Personal budget
  • Freelance staff / gig economy
  • Efficiency
  • No funding required

Across all the provocations and models the central focus for the group was the continued development and support of thriving communities in every corner of Scotland.  The mechanisms for how that could happen were really at the heart of following conversations.

There was a surprising amount of agreement and consensus.  Here, in no particular order, are some of the key thoughts from the room:

  • How can a wider range of community voices be heard and what they ‘really’ want to say be recognised? (Rather than what they think the important person wants to hear – the hippo effect)
  • If we can do a national census, why can’t we ask in each community what people actually want?
  • Some changes that need to be made could take a generation to fix and see proper impact. We all need to respect and understand what that means
  • It’s good to go back to basics and ask whether what we want to do requires funding, or can it be achieved through another route
  • Where are the slow and mixed funding models?
  •  Should more charities be grasping the nettle and merging?
  • Do we need to do some fundamental cross sector research and a data dive into which funding models gain the best outcomes’?  When do we need bureaucracy and when do we need light touch?
  • Can we create a portal (s) for funding applications where a single, proposal can be uploaded for one or more funders to galvanise around?

None of these make for new ‘funding models’, each of the areas deserves further thought and that’s now where our focus sits.

If you’d love to make any contributions, we’d love to hear from you.  Please get in touch with me 

* we could of course remove any Jedi Knights who arrive