A prerequisite for funders having an effective external voice is that they are well informed about what is going on in the areas of need they seek to address. Awareness of other funders’ experiences and concerns is a key enabler of this.
We work to ‘horizon-scan’ on issues that funders are identifying, and to share these across our networks. Funders will very often detect when something is shifting in the environment in which they operate. They could also, through their work, identify an area where policy change is needed. We have supported the process of asking how funders should respond to the need for policy change. This could be through informal conversations within our membership, or through a more formal convening of members and other organisations.
For example, when Sport England announced a shift from direct support for individual sports to a more public-health focused strategy, the London Marathon Charitable Trust shared intelligence on the change with members. Among the attendees was Public Health England, who have since connected with other sports organisations and advised on the use of public health outcome measures to inform their work.
Greater collaboration between mainstream and sports funders is now being facilitated through the creation of a new London Funders network group on ‘Healthy London’. Responding to a shift in policy, this forum provides an opportunity to feed in knowledge and experience to the debate surrounding sports funding and public health, better informing the public health agenda and enabling collective action among funders.