Risk Management: A Primer

FavoriteRisk is the likelihood that an event will occur that will cause an undesirable effect. Risk management refers to steps taken to try to prevent that event from happening or from causing damage. Perception of risk is relative and subjective. It lives in the eye of the beholder. As a process that is used to protect what you care about, in the philanthropic sector, risk management traditionally focuses on protecting assets and reputation. One thing it has traditionally not been used for is a deliberate process to protect impact. Because ‘risk management’ doesn’t mean one thing, it is important to Read more

Survey Databook: 2018 Contingency Funding in Philanthropy Assessment

FavoriteIn 2015, Open Road Alliance conducted a study to assess the need for contingency funding in philanthropy. They surveyed 200 nonprofits and 200 foundations to explore how often projects require contingency funding and are subsequently granted that funding, the capacity organizations have to deal with disruptive and unexpected events, and the consequences of denied requests for projects and for the funder-grantee relationship. In 2017, to build on the findings from its 2015 study, Open Road commissioned Harder+Company Community Research to conduct a more in-depth assessment of what happens to nonprofits when they encounter unexpected catastrophic roadblocks and how foundations respond Read more

Roadblock Analysis Report

FavoriteIn 2017, Open Road conducted an analysis of 102 applications from the past five years to assess trends in its portfolio. The analysis looked at multiple variables, including the size of the organization, project type, sector focus, geographic focus, legal status, and type of original funder. The analysis also coded each application under a taxonomy of “roadblocks” that describe 22 specific challenges that these organizations faced, divided into three broad categories: Organization Misfortune, Acts of God/Market Economics, and Funder-Created Obstacles. The findings from this multivariable roadblock analysis provide the first-ever empirical dataset on “what goes wrong” in impact focused projects Read more

Risk in Philanthropy: A Framework for Evaluation

FavoriteTo help both grantmakers and NGOs better identify, assess, mitigate, and plan for risk in their portfolios, Open Road Alliance offers the following framework for evaluating risk. This brief framework is designed to provide grantmakers and NGOs with tools to conceptualize and describe risk and its implications within the scope of their philanthropic work.