Developing a collective voice on key issues is essential for funders to exert influence as a sector. It builds on the sharing of intelligence and understanding, and is based on trust and good relationships.
Our regular network meetings provide a forum for sharing information between funders, helping to develop trust and providing the impetus for collaboration. We also bring other players to the table when necessary, to deepen understanding or broaden the coalition of parties for collective action .
In the youth sector, members of the London Funders Children and Young People network group were interested in how freely available young people’s services were faring, amid a general concern about the effects of funding cuts to youth services. With funding from BBC Children in Need, John Lyon’s Charity, City Bridge Trust, Greater London Authority and London Youth, we commissioned research into four London Boroughs, which found wide variations in provision.
Following the report on how youth services were working in four London Boroughs, we co-convened, with London Youth and Partnership for Young London, a stakeholder event, with participants including the Cabinet Office, local government, regional government, providers and funders. The aim was to consider what to do with the findings, which clearly had significance for a wider cross section of organisations concerned with young people in London. The day led to the concept of a ‘vision’ for how services should look in 2025.