At its earliest stages, collaboration between funders requires that they are able to find and form connections. Our networks and events provide a framework for our members to meet others with shared interests, create their own networks and forge alliances.
Collaboration may begin ‘organically’ within this framework, as a conversation at one of our events may spark ideas that are followed up by two or more members. However, we are proactive in connecting groups by convening conversations between organisations we know have concerns in common. We also hold events to bring together individuals and organisations that we have spoken to through the course of our work, but who may not yet have spoken to each other.
An example of work that has taken place through the full spectrum of outcomes relating to collaboration is our involvement in the review of the future of civil society in London. This work resulted in the 2016 report ‘The Way Ahead’ and continues to shape thinking about the organisation of services to support civil society and communities in London.
Through the engagement of local authorities in our networks and with other members directly, we came to realise that as individual authorities reduced funding for civil society infrastructure support, there was a real risk of the system as a whole being lost. We co-convened a conference to discuss the situation further and consider options for joint working to respond. City Bridge Trust then provided seed corn funding for developing a proposal for collaborative work to address the problem.