The following is a conversation between Dan Berelowitz, the CEO and Founder of Spring Impact, and Denver Frederick, the Host of The Business of Giving. 

Dan Berelowitz, CEO and Founder of Spring Impact

Denver: There’s the old quote — “You are not here to duplicate and replicate. You are here to innovate and initiate.” But does that advice always work? And is it producing the most effective results to address our social problems? My next guest says: perhaps not, and he is here to explain why. He is Dan Berelowitz, the CEO and founder of Spring Impact.

Welcome to The Business of Giving, Dan! 

Dan: Thanks, Denver. 

Denver: This obsession with replicating what works instead of continually reinventing the wheel — that first got started with you while you were working in Ghana, correct? 

Dan: Yes. That’s right. I founded my first nonprofit going on over 20 years ago, and we had some wonderful social entrepreneurs, people who had really helped in their community, mainly in the education space. But after working with them for a couple of years, what I realized is that they weren’t able to really address the problem at the scale that it presented itself.

 So, for example, there were less and less teachers per child in Ghana, more and more children not going to school. And we were trying to teach more kids, but yet any solution we could put forward just never quite did it. So, absolutely, I was really very frustrated and sort of thought there’s got to be a different way. 

Denver: And you began to develop that idea when you got yourself a fellowship. I think it ran for about 18 months, but you took six of those months and actually went to McDonald’s headquarters in the UK to see what they did.

So, what could a social organization learn from perhaps the ultimate franchisee of them all — McDonald’s? 

Dan: I just thought it’s funny because as I was in Ghana and was having these conversations about replication, often, McDonald’s came up. And so, when I got on this fellowship, I thought, “Well, if everyone’s mentioning McDonald’s, surely that is the place to go and learn from — learn from the masters of replication.”

There is an awful lot to be learned from McDonald’s actually, and some of it was surprising. So I learned some things I wasn’t expecting. So, for example, and this isn’t exactly on replication, but when I first spoke to the gentleman who ran franchising in the UK, I asked him about McDonald’s and if he enjoyed working there… what it was like working for the brand. As he was talking about McDonald’s, he actually shed a tear. He loved the brand so much. 

And so, there was something I learned immediately about the passion that you can have for a brand like that. And actually, part of me thought if we could replicate that passion in the social sector, we could go even further than we do. What I came to realize after a while is there is an element of drinking the Kool-Aid, I think, in the commercial sector, whereas in the social sector, we’re much more willing to engage in the problems. And so, there’s something there around passion. 

But I think the main reason I went there was to learn about replication. And what McDonald’s has done is just absolutely defined to the “T” how you produce the same quality outcome again and again. And if that is the strategy that works for you in the social sector, and you want to get the same outcome again and again, there is a huge amount that can be learned from McDonald’s. 

Now, there’s a lot of nuance underneath that we can get into, if you’re interested in that. I think at the core that is it: How do you get the same outcome again and again? And hopefully, the product, rather than hamburgers, is social change, changing people’s lives.

Denver: Those are wonderful insights. 

What do you think it is about the social sector, probably in every sector, that we are just so fascinated by innovation and what’s new? And when you talk about replication, everybody kind of says, “That’s not all that exciting. We want the shiny new object.” Do you find that to be the case? 

Dan: I think it’s the human condition, isn’t it? We love the new. We love the shiny. And so I agree with you. I think there’s something here about it…just being easier to sell the new. I often reflect: sometimes it’s easier to sell or fundraise for something that doesn’t exist yet because you can get all excited, and you can make up all these pie-in-the-sky ambitious stories. As soon as something exists, you have to look at the data, and people start asking you difficult questions, and it’s much more difficult to sell.

So I’ve obviously done a lot of thinking about how you get around this problem. And I do think there are ways to tap into people’s desire for the new, about presenting it in such a way that you’re really solving a problem in a unique way. You’re reaching communities that you wouldn’t otherwise reach in ways that no one else has done before. So, you’re still positioning it as something new and exciting, but at the core, it’s about replication.

I would say the other thing is sometimes… we’re talking about replication, franchising. These things are quite — let’s be honest — to most people, quite dull. And so, sometimes you just want to avoid talking about the “how” completely and just focus on the “why.” And if they ask about the “how,” that’s fine. You can tell them about replication, franchising. I can tell you about implementers, franchisors, all sorts of things like that. But ultimately, you just want to get them excited about the topic you’re trying to solve and the way you’re doing it. 

Denver: Yes. It probably is.  

The first thing to do as an organization or a team thinking about how to create change is actually understand the space you’re in. The second thing…is to understand what the different pathways are to actually achieve your goals.

Denver: That’s a good way to present it because, essentially, even if it’s the same intervention, if you’re doing it in a different market or different place for a new population, that’s new in and of itself, and that’s how you stay on the cutting edge. 

Well, talking about franchising or social franchising and replication, replicating things — what’s the difference? 

Dan: OK. So I’m going to take a step back here because I have been on a journey myself from thinking about replication, franchising, to now thinking about systems change and how we actually solve problems at significant scale.

So, the difference between franchising and replication is that they are two pathways, different pathways to scale. So, imagine yourself on a journey. We’re all on a journey to create impact in the social sector in some way, and it’s much like climbing a mountain. You need to prepare. And the first thing you do on that journey is really understand the system that you’re in, the ecosystem that you’re in. How do you affect that ecosystem? If you cut down a tree, what is going to be the effect on the other species? If you want to leave no harm, how do you make sure you leave no harm? 

And so, the first thing to do as an organization or a team thinking about how to create change is actually understand the space you’re in. The second thing — and this is getting to your question — is to understand what the different pathways are to actually achieve your goals. And replication is just one way that you can create change within an ecosystem. And if you’re replicating, that is, as you say, taking an idea that worked somewhere and putting it somewhere else, hopefully maintaining or improving the quality. Franchising is just a subset of that where, essentially, you’re much tougher about the rules and regulations. So, if we’re talking McDonald’s, it’s a franchise because they tell you exactly how to make the fries and which potatoes to make them with, whereas for replication, you wouldn’t. 

But there are other pathways to scale — pathways to scale like changing policy. Changing policy, obviously, critically important, even if you’re replicating in some cases. There are things like building a movement. So, the way I think about this now is that replication or franchising are two pathways to scale, but actually, you need to understand the system that you’re within, and then think about the range of pathways you can use together.

Denver: That’s rarely done. And I’ve talked to a lot of people, Dan, about systems change and very often, it’s difficult for an organization to put its shingle on the side of the road and recognize there is a greater good to be done here, and that perhaps working with some other people to really address the issue, as opposed to the greater glory of the organization, is really, really tough.

Have you seen places or sectors or problems where you have seen that kind of selfless collaboration to really solve something? 

Dan: One hundred percent. I think it’s a great question. And we talked about the human condition. I do think there’s something in the way the sector is changing, which is actually enabling humble leaders, inclusive leaders to play a much greater role in shaping the way the sector works and is achieving more impact.

Ten years ago, and even before that, I’ve been very involved in this social entrepreneurship movement. And if you take that, certainly, where it started was sort of putting an individual on a pedestal. And in some ways, it hamstrung them because if you’re the person carrying the weight, you actually can’t take everyone with you. And so, I do think people are coming round to the fact that that hero entrepreneurship model just doesn’t work. 

And there are some just wonderful examples out there of people coming together… collaborations. I’ll give you one quick one that I’d like to give a plug to. Catalyst 2030 is actually a movement of social entrepreneurs or teams of entrepreneurs who are coming together to make an ecosystem, which is better for everyone’s work within. So, I think you’re even seeing those entrepreneurs saying, “Hey. We have to work with those. We have to work in a system for this to work.” So, a very, very important point. 

Denver: It’s interesting what you say about social entrepreneurs. I had Cheryl Dorsey of Echoing Green on the show a while ago. And I asked her what advice would she give to a new social entrepreneur starting an organization. And she said, “My advice would be, ‘Don’t do it.’ My advice would be, ‘Find some organization that’s working really, really well, and go to work for them and help them improve what they’re already doing,’” as opposed to maybe the branding that we do of ourselves, that” I started a nonprofit or something like that.” So, I would imagine it probably resonates favorably with you. 

Dan: Oh, man. I just saw Cheryl speaking at Skoll a few weeks ago, and she just blew my mind. Absolutely brilliant. And if only I’d have had her whisper in my ear when I went and started all these organizations, she probably would have saved me a lot of pain.

I do agree in many ways that you should build your skillset first, but I think that the challenge is is to not lose that sense of wonder as you build those skills. And there is something sort of beautiful about the naivete of saying “I can do this,” and just getting yourself feet first into a mess. But I agree — much better to do that with some skills. And in fact, if you look at the commercial sector, I think the average age of a first-time entrepreneur is near 40, which is probably an appropriate moment to have gathered a bunch of skills, and then to go out and found something. Whereas I think in the social sector, sometimes we think you can do it without skills. So, I definitely appreciate what Cheryl is saying. 

Denver: Well, you have the skills but you didn’t wait, so there you go. 

Dan: I’ve picked them up along the way as well. And I think actually, as we talked about replication to systems change, that has been my own journey of understanding– how really to achieve impact at scale. And I’ve used the organization as a way to learn and build and develop, and it’s still very worthwhile doing the replication work when you do it. But I do think you can cut this either way: going and learning from others, great organizations out there who are doing this; or building and learning yourself.

Nothing matters unless you get it done in the real world. And the way to do that is to really understand what mindset and tools you need to accompany you on that journey.

Denver: I don’t think the idea of systems change really has hit the mainstream, or hadn’t, at least until this pandemic and George Floyd. And people now recognize that it’s the system and that there’s going to be no single organization that’s going to be able to do wonderful work, to fix a lot of these things, until you really deal with the entire ecosystem. So, I do see this greater appreciation that people say: That is where significant change is going to come from. 

Dan: So I think it’s a great point. And actually, when we talk about systems change, using racial equity as an example, I think is a great one because it is so clearly, to me and many others, a systemic issue. 

What I would say, and this is where the work of Spring Impact comes in, is that we were talking about the journey to impact, I talked about understanding the system, choosing your pathways. The next stage for me is critical, and it’s about implementation. So, nothing matters unless you get it done in the real world. And the way to do that is to really understand what mindset and tools you need to accompany you on that journey. 

And so when we’re thinking about systems change, a lot of the work we’re doing now is thinking: OK. You can have these grand ideas and think about the complexity of the system. How do we get down to the nuts and bolts of understanding the mindset we need and the tools we need to really make it happen? I’m happy to share a bit more about some of those tools and mindsets, if it’s interesting, but that’s really the focus of where we are now. 

On this journey to impact, it’s really about searching for the model, the structure of your intervention, your organization, your team, or your group of people that is going to make the biggest difference.

Denver: No question about it. I have been involved in this sector for a long time, and I’ve been to many a presentation where leadership has presented to the board their scale-up plans and how they’re going to take what they do here and there and all the rest of it, only to look back two or three years later and have them all say, “Whatever happened?” And I think the “whatever happened,” you just hit — it’s really execution. 

And do go through that a little bit. Tell us some of those steps that organizations need to take and need to follow in order to successfully implement these ambitions? 

Dan: Definitely. Implementation is where it’s at. So, I think there’s lots to say here, but I think a lot of the work we’re doing now is really on how to increase the speed of learning within an organization.

So, on this journey to impact, it’s really about searching for the model, the structure of your intervention, your organization, your team, or your group of people that is going to make the biggest difference. And you can come up with the greatest hypothesis; you can spend months researching it… When it hits the real world, the real world is going to tell you “No” in some way. And so, what we’ve been doing is really helping organizations build in this idea of running these quick tests, very rapid tests to test risks, to test hypotheses, and work out whether an idea is going to stick or not. 

So let me just give you a quick example. We’ve worked with a wonderful organization recently, JVS in the Bay Area, who do workforce development, help people get into work and find jobs. And when we started working with them during the pandemic, this is a prime moment for learning because suddenly, the context around us is changing. They were doing in-person training. Now, they’re doing it entirely online. 

We came up with a great hypothesis, we thought. We wanted to train 100 people simultaneously online in virtual sessions. And so, we thought… normally, what would happen is you do three months of training, planning, developing the curriculum, and then you’d go out and run it, and you’d get a grant to do that. In this case, we said, “OK. Well, look. The key risk here actually is: Will anyone come?” So, we sent out an email, a single email, 50 people. Not a single person replied saying they were interested. 

So what’s so interesting about that story is that normally, that would have been a moment of panic and worry about how to bring people in. “We just spent six months developing this. What do we do now?” In this case, it was actually a moment of celebration. “Hey, that idea didn’t work. Let’s try something else.” And they moved on to doing this other wonderful program they’re now developing and running. 

So, I think when it comes to implementation, a lot of this is about learning through doing. There’s a wonderful book written by Ann Mei Chang called Lean Impact, and we’re working very closely with Ann Mei on it. So, if people are interested in knowing, I would highly recommend it. 

Denver: Ann Mei is great. She’s wonderful, and that is a great book. And you also brought up a four-letter word there, which I thought was really very interesting because we never use it in the sector, and it’s called risk.

Boy, I got to tell you, when you’re talking… we were talking  a moment ago about that new shiny thing and going out and selling it to some funder, I’ve never seen anybody say, “There’s a risk that this might not work.” There’s  sort of this assumption that it’s always going to work. Well, you would never make an investment with your investment advisor and not ask them, “What’s the risk in this investment?” But there’s this acceptance, or we don’t want to have an uncomfortable conversation that there’s no risk involved.

So I think what you’re talking about is you can’t figure it out in the boardroom. Get out there. Get a tight feedback loop. Iterate. Do it again. Market knows; we don’t. And that is a wonderful learning. 

Dan: Yeah. And I think totally right. The risk side is I think under-looked at within the social sector. I think there’s a broader point here around the way funders fund because a lot of the reasons why, not entirely, but a great deal of the reasons why organizations are exhibiting this behavior of only putting non-risky ideas forward that also then don’t scale is because they’re asked to write three-, five-year detailed business plans, log frames, theories, theories of change. 

So, it’s so interesting in the work that I do with commercial sector organizations, if you’re investing in a commercial company, often, you wouldn’t even look at the idea. You basically look at the team. You look at how motivated they are, and then you give them some money and you say, “Get on with it,  and do what you can do.” In the social sector, we make very tight stipulations around what you have to do with the money, and that actually stops this ability to test and try new things and pivot and change.

Now, there’s a few funders we’re working with who are beginning to open up and be aware of these ideas, but really at Spring Impact, we’re, at the moment, very much on a mission to say: We are just over-planning. We’re wasting huge amounts of time and resources when actually you can make these investments pivot and then achieve impact at scale far more successfully if you think about risk in the way we’ve just been talking about. 

Denver: And it’s also this sense that once they give you the money, that they expect your learning to stop because they’ve stipulated where it’s going to go, and your learning never stops. So, if you have learning, are you supposed to just keep it private because you have a contract with the funder?

I had a guy on the show, Dan, who had a great analogy to the private sector on this. And it’s like you sending me a package tonight and you’re going down to the FedEx store. And you say, “I’d like to send this to Denver. How much is that?” And the guy says, “40 bucks.” And you say, “OK. But a couple of things here. I don’t want any of that $40 going to gasoline. I don’t care if it’s the gas in your trucks. I don’t care if it’s the gas in your plane. And God knows, I want none of it going to you, FedEx clerk, because you’re nothing but overhead.” And it is equally insane to expect nonprofits to do that, but we say, “OK. I won’t use it for any of these functions. I’ll just put it to where you want.” And it doesn’t make any sense. 

So, we do have a great moment here with the pandemic, with these restrictions coming off, with multi-year gifts being made. The question is: Does it stick, or do we return to business as the way it was once everything is over? 

Dan: I think that these conversations now are well-worn and I’m sure — I know you’ve worked in the sector for a long time, we’ve been talking about unrestricted funding for years — I do think it’s opening up. But here’s what I would say to that, which is maybe taking it one step further. I talked about donors being part of the problem, and that’s easy… everyone loves to pick on the donors as long as they’re not in the room, then we’re very kind to them. I actually think we’ve institutionalized ourselves. We’ve got a bit of Stockholm Syndrome going on in the not-for-profit space where we’re so used to filling out these three- to five-year plans, that that is just how we operate. 

And so, there are two sides of the coin here. And actually, I think that there are a lot of funders who are now giving unrestricted funding, and the not-for-profits themselves are saying, “Well, we have to plan because that  is what the funders are expecting.” And often, the funders aren’t even expecting that. So there’s change needed on both sides here, and it’s not easy. This is a mindset shift. It’s a different way of working. As you just put it perfectly, the learning doesn’t stop, and keeping that learning mindset is not straightforward. So, there is a lot of work to do here. 

Denver: That’s a good point. I had a funder on the show, and I asked her about nonprofits engaging things and failing, and having her money used towards that. And she said to me, “I would welcome more of that.” In other words, these problems are so vexing, I want them to try some things and they fail.

But back to your Stockholm Syndrome, the nonprofit is saying: if we should ever fail, we’ll never see money again. So, it’s the assumption that the donors are afraid of failure when they’re far less afraid of failure than the nonprofit would realize because they want some breakthrough.

Let me ask you about another one based in San Francisco, where you are at the moment, or at least based, Lava Mae. Tell us about that story. I love that organization and what you guys did with them. 

Dan: Lava Mae is fabulous. And actually, we’re just working on a case study now, so you’ll be able to have a very in-depth look at this. So, I think they’re a great example of this journey to impact that I was talking about. 

So when we started working with them, they came from a pretty fixed mindset place of: We are going to open a new site. And let me just talk about what they do. So, Lava Mae is all about radical hospitality for the homeless, and they retrofit city buses and deal with the symptoms of homelessness — showering, food, and things like that. And it just is… obviously, we want to get to root causes, but we know if anyone has been to San Francisco, you know that there is a problem that needs to be dealt with as well. Just incredibly needed and such important work. 

And so, when we started working with them, they said, “We want to scale. And so, we started thinking in a very traditional way: opening up a new office in LA. And that we opened the office very successfully. Denise, who’s the CEO at that point, incredible– just building organizations, set up the campaign and made it all happen. Worked very, very successfully. But we just thought about the long-term goals– Where do we want to get in 10-, 20 years?  And it just quite clearly was not going to cut it… opening up an office in every city like that. 

And so, we started to think more about the ecosystem, the system they’re around, and noticed that lots of organizations actually from around the world were contacting them and saying, “We want to take what you’re doing, take the special sauce, and we want to copy it.” And so, we took an entire sharp turn into giving it away, building a manual, and just saying, “Here is how you can set up a Lava Mae or a Lava Mae copycat in your own town.” And what? We’re five-, six years in, and there are over 200 copycats of Lava Mae around the world helping hundreds and thousands of people who are in dire need.

Now, so that story is just wonderful in terms of the sort of mindset shift and the tools you need for the journey, in terms of the manuals, being able to think about this differently. What I would say about that is every solution is different, and some of the things that make that strategy work… actually, running buses like that, retrofitting buses is not that complex a model, and so you can get someone set up, and they can copy it. Obviously, they do need support. Whereas there are some other models which are much more complex. If you work with young children, and you need highly trained staff, and then it does become more complex. So, there’s no one-size-fits-all, but that is a great story about going on this journey and achieving scale through taking a different approach. 

I think the real challenge is to think about the impact being scaled, not the organization.

Denver: Well, as you say, it’s partnering, which is another one of the legs of the stool in terms of trying to increase scale, but the mindset change, which I really like, is giving your stuff away for free, taking your intellectual property. And I guess if you’re really serious about the problem, and you can convince your board it’s not for the greater glory of the organization, but it’s for the people we serve, and the way we can deal with this issue is to take our proprietary information and share it with others — that really is a dramatic mindset change, isn’t it? 

Dan: Yes. It’s falling in love with the problem, not the solution. And so, that’s one way to look at it. I think the real challenge is to think about the impact being scaled, not the organization. And I think for those of us who’ve worked in this sector for a long time, we are pretty familiar with this idea of the impact being the thing that we actually want to grow. And we actually want the organization to be a small… maybe nonexistent. “I would rather change the policy to solve the problem than build an organization.” 

I do think you made a point about boards there. And I do think boards are becoming better at this, but we do sometimes get your sort of quite traditional commercial sets of folk who really struggle with this idea of impact scaling rather than organization scaling. And so, I think there’s a couple of core mindset shifts which are critical to making this work.

Denver: Yes, which is really redefining what success looks like. And if the board can do that, you’re halfway home. To truly sustain impact over the long term, it’s almost essential that you work with government. What are some of the challenges in terms of getting government to adopt programs that really have a track record of success?

Dan: This is a whole conversation in its own right. This is one of our pathways to scale. So working with government– and particularly at every part of the world, but we’ve done a lot of thinking across the African continent because often, really, there is no other way but to work with government.

And so, it is really about making government your ally. How do you make them an ally rather than seeing them as the enemy and the other? And that is not straightforward. There are a number of — talking of mindsets — mindset shifts to do that: bringing government partners on right from the beginning; huge questions about continuity when people change, and governments change and how you keep that going. 

So, I think there’s a lot to say there.  The one we’ve just loved working on is with Marie Stopes in Zambia. I think they might change their name now actually. But we worked on some reproductive health clinics with them that were very costly, four or five clinics. They want it to scale. And we went in and said, “Listen. These are just too expensive. They’re not going to scale. Let’s think about a different pathway to scale.” Government seemed to be the right route. And so, what we did is we took apart the… we really tried to understand what was driving the impact in these clinics– what is the core of the impact. And then we went to government clinics and said, “Hey, if you do this set of things within your clinic, working in this way, you’ll be able to get the same outcomes as these other much more costly clinics.” 

We developed that program with MSC over a few years in partnership with the Zambian government, and it is now scaling up across Zambia because the idea just being taken– cost-effective, and it’s working. So, that’s just been a wonderful experience actually throughout, seeing how that can grow and change and how government really can be a true partner, and in fact, I think just have to be if we’re going to truly solve some of the problems of the world at scale. 

We’d love to reduce the time people spend on that planning and really get to the point where they are able to create a framework, a strategic framework, and then go out and test in reality, implement in reality to save the whole sector a huge amount of time, money, but also achieve scale more effectively because it means you’re constantly learning.

Denver: Great stuff. What are you guys doing, Spring Impact, to increase the scale of your impact? 

Dan: We are… it’s a great question. Thank you. So, we believe the system needs to change, and the field needs to change. And so, the way we think about this is that all the direct work we do with organizations, we do to create tools to understand what the mindset shifts need to be, and then we share those more broadly to influence the field

And we talked about government transition. We’ve just done a whole bunch of sessions on government transition and how to do that. We are a not-for-profit ourselves, and so we really see that as part of creating impact. We talked about Lava Mae going from this direct work to giving it away. Exactly the same for us. We do the direct work. We have a business model around that, but then we want to give it away as well. And so, that is, I think, how we will achieve significant scale doing our work, but then, of course, we love doing the work with individual organizations because they are also then achieving greater scale.

I do have one… a lot of the work we’re doing at the moment is thinking about strategy actually and scale strategy. And I’ve got one point here, which is another one that I do think needs to change within the sector which ties to the planning point, which is strategic plans are… I just see people spending huge amounts of money and time… on these heavy strategic plans, doing a lot of internal thinking. And in terms of our own impact, we’d love to reduce the time people spend on that planning and really get to the point where they are able to create a framework, a strategic framework, and then go out and test in reality, implement in reality to save the whole sector a huge amount of time, money, but also achieve scale more effectively because it means you’re constantly learning. So there’s a number of different things we’re doing. Very exciting on multiple fronts. I think I’m biased. 

Denver: They really are. And the point you make there is that the answers are outside your four walls, not inside your four walls. And there is something just innate in a strategic plan, which means you’re inside your four walls and you’re pushing data and you’re pushing paper and stuff like that. Well, they’re outside the windows. So, the sooner you get outside the windows, the sooner you’re going to get to the answer. 

Dan: So Steve Blank, he’s a great writer in the commercial space around entrepreneurship, he says, “Get out of the building.” That is his number one. That is his number one. In the pandemic, I think maybe we need to rethink that but certainly, get outside of your Zoom calls. 

Denver: Absolutely. That is so well put. I think Rosabeth Moss Kanter has written a book like that. It’s not outside the box, it’s outside the building. Get outside the building itself.

Let me close with this, Dan. What do you think the impact of the pandemic, when so many different organizations now are going virtual and trying to scale impact that way, what do you think all of this is going to have on the kind of work that you do and the kind of ways that organizations try to increase their impact going forward?

Dan: I think it’s going to be huge. Let me focus on the positives actually because we know that this has been devastating for so many people out there, and then you combine it with everything that’s gone on with the movement that has started around George Floyd that, of course, existed before but I think have reached attention as they should do.

I think organizations are becoming more ambitious. They need to become more ambitious to deal with the problems at the scale that they present themselves. I mean that is changing. I think as we discussed, racial equity has helped people see things systemically, and I think it is our job now to help them, first of all, go deeper into that world, but also see how everything else we’re working on is around the system, and how the systems we’ve got are just holding, just gripping these problems in place, and to understand how we can break the system to change things.

So, I think there are some big things that are changing, and then there is the practical stuff. We’ve seen a number of funders giving more unrestricted funding than they ever did before, relaxing their grip of accounting for numbers in year one, two, and three. And I’ve spoken to a lot of funders who are saying, “We’re going to keep those in place.” So, my hope is there’s some practical stuff there. 

And then when it comes to organizations, we always knew learning and being nimble was important, but it just became so blatantly obvious during the pandemic that I think actually some organizations have been forced to learn and change mindsets. So, I hope that as we settle down hopefully back into “normality,” some of those great mindset shifts and ways of working will be kept. So I think there’s a lot there, but not to play down the incredible hardship that people are facing and the challenges we’re going to have to deal with.

Denver: Dan, if anybody wants to learn more about Spring Impact, or maybe they’re thinking of their own organization or an issue that they’re working on right now, tell us about your website and how people can get in touch with you. 

Dan: Yes. Come to the website. We’re always publishing new material, new webinars. We speak at many conferences, so come along to those. And really just please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

So, as I said, we’re a not-for-profit. We are here really to be a service to the sector, to help them achieve greater impact at greater scale. And so, if you’ve got questions, just email us, and there’s plenty of people on the team who’d be delighted just to have a conversation. In fact, there’s about 30 of us now. So everyone has got their own personal passion areas, and we’ll dig someone up who absolutely is passionate about the area of change you’re working in and has knowledge of it and is just happy to have an open conversation. So please do just get in touch. 

Denver: You got great case studies there. You even have a toolkit for people with an organization. Really some good information, but give us that URL before I let you go. 

Dan: That’s it.  It’s easy. 

Denver: There it goes. Well, thanks, Dan, for being here today. It was such a pleasure to have you on the program.

Dan: Denver, I’d love to thank you. Great to meet you. And I love the work that you’re doing as well. Long may it last! 

Denver: Thanks very much.

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