How Do Education Funders Choose Who to Fund?
Last year HundrED released the Education Funders Collection, which highlights both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations that are investing in K12 education initiatives and demonstrate a shared passion for helping children flourish around the globe. By identifying the most active education funders, we are able to help scale the innovations which are bringing the most impact to children around the world. Lasse Leponiemi, Executive Director and Co-Founder of HundrED, adds:
"We hope the first-ever Education Funders Collection will encourage more venture capital, grant-giving and donations to provide opportunities for these inspiring global innovations to scale up."
We had the opportunity to speak to a number of funders who were featured in the Funders Collection to gain insight into the motivation behind how they select the organisations and initiatives they fund. Part of helping to close the funding gap for innovators is providing them with insights that will help them improve their chances of receiving funding. Such insights will not help innovators to improve education solutions for those who are already working in the education sector but also allow us to prescribe which skills and capabilities are necessary for successful innovation and implementation of education models.
Almost all the funders highlighted the importance of being able to demonstrate impact. While the matrix for measuring impact tends to differ from one organisation to another, innovators need to not only have clarity about how they are measuring their impact but must also improve how they communicate it, and doing so in a way that engages all their stakeholders. Improving how to measure and communicate social impact doesn’t only increase the chances for innovators to receive funding, it also gives them a framework against which to measure their own progress and clear goals on how they can improve. More and more people are realizing the importance of telling stories. A recent example is that of Skateistan, who were featured in the documentary, Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl), a documentary about girl’s skateboarding in Afghanistan, which went on to win an Oscar for best documentary short subject at the 92nd annual Academy Awards.
Skateistan, which was featured in our 2020 Global Collection empowers children and youth in conflict-affected and fragile states, where education and recreation opportunities are compromised. Skateistan is able to engage with children through Skateboarding because it is accessible to all, satisfyingly challenging and has the ability to unite people from different backgrounds. You can learn more about Skateistan on their innovation page.
In addition to measuring impact, funding organizations also emphasized the importance of the leadership within the organizations and whether or not they had confidence in their role in managing and maintaining growth. They also favored organizations who either worked to bring change at a systematic level or work within a larger network. Another common trend revealed that funders tend to invest within their region or network, but rarely outside both. Since most of the education funders are in the US or Europe, this creates a significant resource gap for many of HundrED’s innovators given that a significant number of those selected for the 2020 Global Collection fall outside these regions.
These insights highlighted a need to continue building a wider network of investors by tapping into our global community to discover a more distributed group of like-minded funders around the globe. We also realize that funding is not the only resource required to scale which is why we have created HundrED Connect, a service that connects our innovators to the people tools and resources they need in order to scale. Innovators must also work to develop their supporting functions by telling better stories, building solid teams and investing in their social capital.
The HundrED Education Funders Collection is a selection of inspiring education funders who share our passion to help prepare children to flourish in life, no matter what happens. If you are interested in being featured in the Funder’s Collection and gain access to HundrED’s global network of education forerunners, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HundrED Connect is our new service connecting innovators to the people tools and resources they need in order to scale. Read more about HundrED Connect here.