4. Conclusions and way forward

This report sheds light on key trends in the philanthropic sector. Drawing on data from 205 large organisations providing cross-border and domestic philanthropy in developing countries, it provides a comprehensive perspective on philanthropy’s scale, strategies and ambitions to support sustainable development. It unpacks information on philanthropic resource flows for development and on the strategies used by foundations to harness the power of investment capital, advocate and use monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to promote learning. This chapter summarises these trends and proposes recommendations for foundations, governments and the wider donor community.

More foundations are providing reliable information on their funding, priorities and behaviour. Yet there is still much room to improve transparency on philanthropic resources allocated for development. This second edition of Private Philanthropy for Development, covering 205 foundations over the 2016-19 period, evolved from an initial sample of 143 foundations from 2013-15. This increase can be explained by several developments. First, the number of foundations that report on a regular basis to the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System (CRS) increased from 15 in 2015 to 45 as of November 2021. OECD’s CRS publishes this information on an open and free online database (OECD, n.d.[1]). Second, in some emerging markets, like Colombia and South Africa, domestic foundations are working with associations of foundations to publish more information about their activities to collaborate better among themselves and have shared the information with the OECD Centre on Philanthropy. Finally, foundations’ obligations to register and publicly disclose financial data have become more stringent in some countries. Examples are India (on CRS), through the regulation of Corporate Social Responsibility (Ministry of Corporate Affairs of India, 2013[2]), and Colombia, through a 2016 tax reform mandating all non-profits to disclose their activities in order to retain tax-exempt status.

Cross-border private philanthropy remains key in health and education. While private philanthropy for development remains modest compared to official development assistance (ODA), aggregate volumes are particularly important in the health and education sectors. Total cross-border philanthropic funding in health and reproductive health ranked second after giving from the United States. In education, cross-border private philanthropy for development represented the eighth largest source of funding when compared with bilateral and multilateral ODA donors.

Domestic foundations in emerging countries provide substantial support locally. From the sample of 205 philanthropic organisations, a total of 116 are based in emerging markets. Together they provided USD 7.9 billion, or 19% of total philanthropic flows for development identified for this report over 2016-19. In some countries, like India, the People’s Republic of China (hereafter “China”) and Mexico, domestic philanthropic financing in this sample surpassed the flows from cross-border philanthropy. To fully unpack philanthropy’s contribution to development, it is essential to consider the growing domestic philanthropic sector in the Global South by capturing more data and engaging in dialogue with other development stakeholders.

Gender-related giving amounted to 8% of all private philanthropy for development. Funding in support of reproductive health, family planning, women’s rights and efforts to end violence against women and girls amounted to 8% of all private philanthropy for development in the sample over 2016-19. Furthermore, a majority of the 103 foundations that responded to the OECD organisational survey for this report (64, or 62%) declare that gender equality is the primary or secondary objective of their grant making. However, more than a third of foundations still does not consider gender equality as an objective.

Foundations are taking climate change into account across their portfolios. More than half of respondents (58 of 103 foundations) include a climate-change lens in their grants or projects. Strategies include minimising the carbon footprint of their operations and grant making, asking partner organisations to account for and mitigate climate-related risks that can affect their work, and targeting grantees in climate-fragile geographies.

Foundations are taking a more strategic approach to philanthropy. Many foundations report an ambition to move beyond narrowly defined charitable projects and use their funding purposefully to mobilise additional resources for development, advocate for broad social and policy change, and produce knowledge that can improve development policy and practice.

  • Many foundations are seeking to mobilise private finance for development. Of the 71 foundations with endowments in the sample, 77% are practicing responsible investment. Foundations typically disburse a relatively small share of their assets annually in grant making, from a minimum requirement of 5% in the United States, to no minimum requirement across several European countries. With sustainable and responsible investing strategies, foundations are seeking to invest a larger share of their untapped capital to support socially responsible industries, and in some instances to advance their own philanthropic mission. Foundations should hold their asset managers accountable to understand the types of sustainable products they are selecting for investment. Particularly when investing through environment, social and governance (ESG) exchange-traded funds (ETFs), foundations should examine whether the assets included in funds are well aligned and do not contradict the foundation’s values or sustainability objectives.

  • Most foundations engage in advocacy to encourage change in policy and norms. In the sample, a large majority (84 of 103, or 82%) seek broader change through advocacy. Foundations are supporting new research and its dissemination, and engaging in pilots to test solutions and generate knowledge about policy or programme alternatives that can be implemented at scale.

  • Foundations privilege collaborative advocacy approaches. They are working via networks, collective advocacy efforts and grantees rather than unilateral advocacy initiatives detached from local ecosystems. To give visibility to different perspectives, increase diversity in political discourse and enhance the legitimacy of advocacy, efforts to give voice to the unheard (future generations, and women and girls in certain contexts) and to support locally rooted organisations will be critical.

  • Foundations are developing fit-for-purpose monitoring and evaluation systems to assess their efforts and achieve better results. More than half of foundations in the sample (55 of 103, or 53%) have a dedicated evaluation person, unit or department that reports to the CEO or the head of programming, strategy or research. Foundations use a variety of tools to support programme design, monitoring and evaluation. A majority of foundations frequently conduct needs assessments (75 of 103 or 73%), develop theories of change (78%) and deploy process evaluations (82%) to learn from their efforts.

For the philanthropic sector to fulfil its ambitions, foundations should be ready to invest more time and resources in rigorous learning, enhanced transparency and sustained collaboration. They should also expand their capabilities to mobilise finance and advocate. Foundations investing in health, education and gender equality could use lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to reinforce their support.

Foundations should inform their scale-up decisions with rigorous evidence of effectiveness. Foundations increasingly seek opportunities to “scale impact”, i.e. to extend the benefits of effective interventions to more people than their grant making could reach alone. Through strategic advocacy and M&E efforts, foundations strive to inform the public policy agenda and build movements to drive changes in social norms. However, foundations will not have a significant impact on pervasive development challenges, such as health inequities, learning poverty and gender disparities, unless they identify effective approaches that can reach a much larger group of people, while being anchored in local or national agendas. Ambitions for scale come with high stakes. If foundations back ineffective or unproven approaches, valuable resources can go to waste and interventions can also do harm.

For foundations and other development stakeholders, monitoring and evaluation efforts provide valuable information on the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of new and promising approaches that could generate impact at scale. Nonetheless, foundations find it challenging to ensure the quality of evaluations and share valuable insights from evaluations with policy makers. Most foundations tend to focus on tracking inputs and processes, while impact evaluations and cost-effectiveness analyses remain the least used evaluation method in the sector. To increase the value of evaluations, the philanthropic sector could:

  • Instil a culture of learning within foundations. Such a culture can be defined as a set of norms and beliefs that support and encourage staff and partners to learn and act upon robust evidence (from M&E and research). It requires that evaluation efforts be an integral part of the foundation’s mission, programming, and theory of change, and be planned ex-ante. It also requires that staff and partners in different roles understand when and how they should engage with evidence. It calls for senior managers and foundation boards to lead by example by using evidence in their decision making about portfolio allocations and investments. Positive incentives are important. Concrete actions that foundations can take to operationalise a culture of learning include rewarding learning and adaptation, and giving teams a well-defined time to pause, reflect and learn from evaluations.

  • Strategically earmark evaluation resources and improve quality of evaluations. Foundations can increase the quality and usefulness of the evaluations they conduct by using suitable methods and increasing rigour as appropriate. The Quality Standards for Development Evaluation (OECD, 2010[3]) provide a roadmap for evaluation processes that are credible and useful. Foundations should prioritise a limited set of interventions that warrant rigorous impact evaluation. For example, there is no value-added in testing an intervention that already has a strong body of evidence, is too costly or complex to be replicated at scale, or has shown no impact in several previous studies. In contrast, high-risk approaches and innovative interventions with scaling potential should be rigorously evaluated. Other excellent candidates are pilots or demonstration projects whose conclusions can be of high relevance to the broader policy community, and approaches with highly uncertain outcomes.

  • Support incentives and capabilities to learn from evaluations. A narrow focus on evaluation for accountability can discourage foundations’ partners from taking on the most challenging social problems for fear of failing or compel them to understate challenges and present the work in the best possible light. Framing evaluations as an iterative process for learning, where improvement (rather than immediate success) is rewarded, can increase the usefulness of evaluations in the field. Encouraging low-stakes conversations between foundation staff and implementing partners, outside formal reporting channels, can also facilitate transparent sharing of evaluation results and provide a stronger base for learning and adaptation.

    Linking evaluation design with the needs of those who are implementing programmes can also help to ensure the relevance of findings and increase the likelihood that they will be used. Partners and foundation staff are more likely to draw on M&E evidence if they have been involved in the process to ensure that evaluations respond to their own priority questions.

    Adhering to high quality evaluation standards will require foundations to identify more effective ways to equip their partners with the skills and systems needed to produce and report reliable data. Although 75% (77 of 103) of surveyed foundations provide non-financial support to help partners improve their M&E and learning efforts, a majority of foundations describe their partners’ inadequate capacity to collect and report reliable M&E data as an important challenge to their own learning, as well as their partners’. These findings suggest that foundations have a role to play in terms of developing local capacities.

  • Further invest in bridging the gap between evidence and practice. Investing in evaluation is important, and so is investing in bridging evidence and evaluation findings with policy and practice. Indeed, 54% of foundations in the sample (56 of 103) find it challenging to translate evaluation findings for policy makers and partners on the ground in order to share relevant lessons. Foundations can fund organisations that scan and synthesise the available body of robust evaluations and evidence, translate findings into actionable and contextually relevant recommendations and provide implementation support to partners on the ground. Consolidating existing efforts is also key. For instance, while there are a number of repositories scanning the latest available research and evidence across different sectors, these repositories are not always linked to each other (even those working on similar issues) or connected to decision makers in developing countries.

  • Use the right tools to monitor and evaluate advocacy work. One of the main barriers to foundations’ engagement in advocacy is the difficulty of measuring and reporting tangible results. Yet it is possible to adapt evaluation and reporting requirements to account for the complexities of advocacy work. Some specific advocacy projects may be better suited for rigorous impact evaluation, such as interventions that aim to shifting attitudes by providing information on key issues via the mass media. But for the majority of advocacy projects, it is extremely complex to establish causality between funded activity and a policy or social change (Teles and Schmitt, 2012[4]). This is due to the nonlinear character of policy and social transformations, the multiplicity of variables that can influence outcomes and the time horizon for achieving change. To circumvent these difficulties, foundations could focus on measuring intermediary results, such as the advocacy skill development of implementing partners or coalitions they have formed. Indeed, advocacy capacity building is the most promising and potentially uncontroversial way for foundations to build an advocacy culture within civil society. Using these proxies to report on advocacy can help organisations track their progress on advocacy efforts without overburdening implementing partners with heavy and unrealistic reporting requirements. The Harvard Family Research Project’s “A User’s Guide to Advocacy Evaluation Planning” (Harvard Family Research Project, 2014[5]) and the Innovation Network’s “A Practical Guide to Advocacy Evaluation” (Morariu et al., 2009[6]) provide further information, while Korwin Consulting’s “Evaluating Policy Advocacy & Movements” lists additional resources that may serve as inspiration (Korwin Consulting, 2018[7]).

Foundations should improve the transparency on giving and results. Open data on philanthropy’s contribution to development are the cornerstone for effective co-ordination and collaboration among development funders. With this information, donors can identify funding gaps and avoid duplication, and recipient organisations can better target their fundraising efforts. With heightened ambitions to mobilise private capital markets in support of social and environmental goals, and to inform the public policy agenda, publicly accessible data on philanthropic assets, giving, advocacy and evaluations can help build trust with grantees and end beneficiaries, and inform the broader public on foundations’ role in society. However, relatively few foundations worldwide openly share information about their endowments, grants or evaluations. To make progress in this field, foundations could:

  • Disclose data on responsible investing. Most endowed foundations in the sample report using one or more strategies to invest their endowment responsibly (77% of endowed foundations). However, data on the impact achieved by responsible investing remain scarce. Investors – foundations, development finance institutions, multilateral development banks and asset managers – do not always collect these data from their investees, and when they do they tend to fear that disclosing data on the impact of their financial investments could affect their competitive advantage. Foundations can be first-movers when it comes to investment transparency by openly disclosing data on how they manage and measure the social and environmental impact of their assets. This would include disclosing the sources of data used for the ex-ante and ex-post assessment of impact and monitoring, at both the portfolio level and, when possible, the individual operation level. Foundations can also support the creation of data-sharing infrastructure and set up independent data-collection initiatives that provide the responsible investing market with real-time impact data on development finance. While some existing efforts look into impact investment activities, such as the Global Impact Investing Network’s annual survey and EVPA’s Investing for impact survey in Europe, there is a clear market gap for data on the impact of investments.

  • Share data on philanthropic funding. Significant uncertainty remains about the scope of the philanthropic sectors in OECD and non-OECD countries alike. This is despite wider availability of information on philanthropic funding in specific countries such as China, Colombia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Data are more accessible in these countries due to mandatory disclosure regulations, a culture of sharing or the willingness of some foundations to disclose their grants and projects voluntarily. The information gap has created problems for foundations themselves. They report having trouble identifying partners in areas of interest due to a lack of awareness of each other's grants and project portfolios. The OECD Centre on Philanthropy can help narrow the data gap and work alongside other country and regional organisations (e.g. associations of foundations, national statistical offices) to provide more open and reliable data about philanthropy. The OECD’s data-collection efforts on philanthropy ensure data comparability with other development financial flows, such as ODA, and provide free and open access to the data though online databases.

  • Communicate insights from programme evaluations. Foundations’ evaluations are rarely publicly shared, limiting the learning potential within and beyond the philanthropic sector. While certain types of evaluations can be exclusively for internal use, such as a tailored theory of change specific to a given foundation, others, like needs, process or impact evaluations, can benefit the broader development community. Foundations should place communications and meaningful engagement with potential users of knowledge at centre stage of their evaluation efforts, including with the local and government partners who are the primary beneficiaries. A more proactive communication effort can also create incentives for foundations to commit to high methodological standards, as evaluations will be accessible for peer review and scrutiny. Openness can likewise help foundations better co-ordinate their evaluation efforts with other important development players, such as ODA providers and research institutions working on similar issues.

Foundations note that lack of time and limited internal capacities create a common bottleneck to mobilising private finance, advocating and/or producing high-quality evaluations. More than one in four foundations in the sample (29 of 103) describe their lack of internal capacities as a major limitation on use of alternative methods of funding, such as guarantees, equity and loans. Similarly, foundations stress that lack of time, resources and expertise limits their advocacy (31%) and learning efforts (45%). To expand their capabilities, foundations could:

  • Further invest in the financial skills of boards, management and staff. While all foundations in the sample use grants, 63% do not employ other instruments, such as loans, guarantees or equity, due to lack of capacity or regulatory restrictions on their spending. Interestingly, the first edition of this report, covering 2013-15, found that 99% of private philanthropic funding was deployed through grants and only 1% through loans or equity. Foundations link the restricted use of such mechanisms with limited capacities for deal sourcing, due diligence and management of an investment portfolio. Programmatic or grant-making staff do not always have the needed combination of programme knowledge and financial acumen to oversee investments. Board trustees are not always well acquainted with legal and tax requirements or the due diligence needed to source investment opportunities. To learn from more experienced peers, foundations could take advantage of existing global, regional and national networks, such as the Global Impact Investing Network; venture philanthropy associations in Europe (EVPA), Latin America (LatImpacto), Africa (AVPA) and Asia (AVPN); or national associations of foundations.

  • Commit to high quality standards and co-ordinate with other donors. Not all foundations have the internal resources to develop a sophisticated M&E strategy or to support large-scale and rigorous data collection efforts on their own. Foundations can work with learning partners (from academia, research consultancies) to receive adequate support for the design and implementation of their M&E and learning activities. Foundations can also co-ordinate part of their evaluative efforts with other foundations working on similar issues and geographies to identify shared priority open questions, and can pool funds to cover the cost of selected evaluations with high quality standards. Finally, the Results Community, supported by the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) on behalf of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), provides guidance and resources for results-based management for effective development co-operation, and can be a platform for foundations and public providers to share experiences.

The data collected for this report precede the COVID-19 outbreak. But light has been shed on certain patterns via policy dialogue meetings hosted by the OECD Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD) and publications produced by the OECD Centre on Philanthropy. From these patterns, specific sectoral recommendations have been developed for foundations investing in health, education and gender equality. In these sectors, foundations’ comparative advantage rests on three strategic pillars: i) scouting and testing development innovations that can be scaled with other partners; ii) building the capacity of development partners in the field; and iii) producing and brokering knowledge that can improve development policy and practice. To reinforce their support for health, education and gender equality, foundations could take the following actions.

  • Support global efforts towards equitable access to essential health products and services for developing countries. Now is a particularly urgent time for foundations to revitalise their engagement with governments and international organisations, and engage further to support larger-scale efforts to ensure that developing countries have equitable access to needed health products and services. Examples include: the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), funded by a number of governments; foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Wellcome Trust; and contributions to the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Response Fund and the COVID-19 Therapeutic Accelerator created by BMGF, Wellcome and Mastercard.

  • Invest in digital health solutions that are interoperable and aligned with government strategies. Digital solutions deployed locally by foundations can support health promotion, prevention, monitoring, training of health professionals and information sharing across the health system. ICTs can simplify collection of essential data to predict and control outbreaks and to manage and plan healthcare delivery. In the context of COVID-19, mobile phone applications can help disseminate preventive messages to the public and track the spread of the virus, and telemedicine can help monitor the health status of quarantined populations. In poorer countries, digital solutions can extend the reach of often small numbers of trained healthcare workers through telemedicine, and provide distance courses and clinical decision support to less skilled personnel. With chronic diseases requiring lifetime management and compliance with treatment, digital health and remote patient monitoring solutions can also facilitate personalised care and empower patients to manage their own health. Supporting development partners to harness advances in big data, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics can help health systems become more responsive to patient and population needs.

  • Support community health. Support for frontline health workers constitutes a key investment opportunity for philanthropy to help strengthen health systems. Community health workers deliver essential preventive care even in the most remote areas and to the most vulnerable communities. They can promote critical hygiene and behavioural change (e.g. setting up handwashing stations or distributing buckets and soap in areas with no access to tap water), identify early signs and symptoms, support isolation and refer more severe cases. They thus play a critical role in reducing inequalities in access to primary care. Digital health solutions can also empower community health workers, provided they have the needed tools, skills and support. With access to mobile devices such as smart phones or tablets and AI-powered applications, community health workers can play a critical role in collecting data and tracking the spread of diseases to quickly detect epidemics. In addition, these support tools could empower community health workers in their duties by keeping track of their activities and the needs of different patients, reminding households of preventive visits and health services, improving diagnosis and referrals or providing virtual counselling.

  • Reinforce support to effective social and emotional learning programmes. Numerous studies show the relevance and importance of helping students develop social and emotional learning skills (OECD, 2021[8]). But in the wake of school closures caused by the pandemic, school systems may place a higher priority on measurable academic and technical skills than on social and emotional learning. In the COVID-19 era, foundations working on education can play an important role in testing the measurement, teaching and certification of social and emotional learning, and in demonstrating the feasibility and effectiveness of these approaches in low-income education systems.

  • Support the development and use of digital resources for teaching and learning, while also ensuring a safe digital environment. Foundations can also support the development of open and free educational resources as a complement to face-to-face learning for all, and can encourage the EdTech developers they support to apply learning sciences and involve teachers or learning experts in their product design and development. Finally, foundations should invest to learn more about the risks of digital learning environments. Digital platforms have the capacity to capture, analyse and store personal data on take-up and outcomes. While this opens the possibility to provide personalised learning, serious safeguards are essential to guarantee child safety and data protection.

  • Support partners in the use of evidence in education technology. Foundations can continue to contribute to enhancing learning outcomes by helping education stakeholders understand the potential best use of technology in education. When available, administrative data and international student assessments (e.g. PISA, PISA-D, TALIS, TIMSS and PIRLS) provide a wealth of information on needs, infrastructure and teacher attitudes. Where data are lacking, education foundations can support data-collection efforts to enable a nuanced diagnosis on learning levels, demand and access to technologies in education (Ganimian, Vegas and Hess, 2020[9]). These diagnoses or assessments could look at learner variability, available technologies and infrastructure, and users’ appetite and competence for education technology (EdTech) in a given context. Furthermore, foundations should also promote the use of rigorous evidence on the impact of different technology-enabled instruction approaches by decision makers in governments, CSOs and schools, and invest strategically to produce new research where critical evidence is missing.

  • Fund women’s organisations. Prevailing barriers to gender equality are systemic, and any effort to achieve gender equality must fully acknowledge the social and cultural norms that produce and uphold gender inequality. Common barriers include gender-based violence, lack of safety, curtailed reproductive rights and the burden of unpaid care and work, including lack of quality childcare and early childhood development services. Attitudes and beliefs, as well as deeply entrenched power structures that exclude women and girls, present the greatest barriers to progress. Feminist approaches to gender equality seek to change the systems and structures of power, and as such are inherently focused on systems change. Women's rights organisations and feminist movements have played a catalytic role in bringing about systemic change, sparking action and ensuring accountability from leaders and decision makers, yet these movements have been historically underfunded. The funding they receive has been for specific projects rather than for organisational strengthening and core costs. This has created a vicious cycle of absorptive capacity within women’s rights organisations and feminist movements. They are often unable to apply for larger grants due to limited, restrictive and inadequate investment in their organisational capabilities. To build resilient organisations, there is an urgent need to invest in the critical capabilities and systems of these organisations.

  • Support the gender equality ecosystem as a whole. Foundations could provide support not only for individual organisations and implementation of programmes, but also for building solidarity across movements by funding spaces and platforms for partnership and collaboration. This could help ensure a strong, resilient and sustainable ecosystem of organisations. It is also important to recognise that feminist movements should not be understood as exclusively small and grassroots movements: many women’s funds operate on a large regional or global scale.

  • Promote integration of gender equality across the work of foundations. Inadequate consideration of gender in the design, management and measurement of large-scale programmes across all sectors leads to poorer outcomes for women and girls. For more widespread integration of gender equality into programmatic work, foundations could take a gender integration approach. This could include: gender analysis to better understand the gender dynamics of an issue the foundation is seeking to address and to flag possible unintended consequences of the intervention; adequate monitoring and evaluation to receive feedback and learn from those supported by foundations, including women and girls; and self-reflection about foundations’ internal practices, procedures, structures and interpersonal relations that contribute to strengthening or undermining equality within their own organisations.

Governments can play a pivotal role in making the philanthropic sector more open and transparent. They can also work to ease tax and other barriers to cross-border philanthropy. In particular, governments could:

  • Mandate the online publication of activities in countries with existing annual reporting requirements for philanthropic organisations. This has already been done by the United States, India (on CSR) and Colombia. In the absence of mandated reporting requirements, regional or national networks of foundations can play a valuable role in organising and updating data on philanthropic giving. An open philanthropy model in which foundations disclose their grants and projects improves mutual awareness among foundations and increases the transparency of the sector to other development stakeholders, civil society and governments. Examples of open philanthropy are 360Giving in the United Kingdom and Asociación de Fundaciones Empresariales y Familiares (AFE) in Colombia.

  • Strengthen the capacity of national statistical offices to monitor development finance. Identifying, mobilising and deploying capital in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is an integral objective of Agenda 2030. Strong national statistical capacities are a precondition for identifying gaps, synergies and alignment with country priorities and for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of national development strategies. Governments and development partners, including foundations, could make a more conscious effort to strengthen capacities to monitor development finance from foundations, ODA and other sources in general, and those related to statistical development projects in particular.

  • Facilitate cross-border philanthropy, particularly from the Global North. Governments around the world encourage private giving. They recognise that philanthropy can provide targeted resources in ways that respond to community needs, can be agile in the face of changing conditions and can help test innovative approaches that address development needs. Nevertheless, cross-border giving faces obstacles, particularly in high-income countries. These barriers include differential tax exemptions for domestic versus international philanthropy, and differential recognition of such exemptions when the beneficiary is a foreign Public Benefit Organisations (PBO) (OECD, 2020[10]). The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the interconnected nature of our societies, highlighting the importance of philanthropy’s cross-border reach. Governments should consider reassessing the specific situations when a more equal tax treatment to domestic and cross-border philanthropic financing could be provided.

ODA providers could consider involving foundations in their monitoring and evaluation efforts, and continue investing in evaluation capacities and transparency for evaluation results. In this respect, the donor community could:

  • Involve foundations in monitoring and evaluation efforts. ODA providers can facilitate targeted dialogue on learning priorities in specific sectors, and involve foundations working on similar issues in their monitoring, evaluation and learning efforts. There are a number of existing venues where ODA providers and philanthropy can explore areas of synergies. In the education sector, for example, the donor working group Building Evidence in Education (BE2), hosted by the World Bank Group, brings together bilateral and multilateral ODA providers and philanthropic organisations to discuss research and evaluation. Similarly, the Global Partnership for Education has a Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) initiative that connects partners at a regional level to invest in innovation, knowledge generation and scaling proven approaches. The OECD netFWD, hosted at the OECD Development Centre, offers a dedicated space where foundations, OECD experts and selected ODA providers can identify common learning priorities in education, health and gender equality.

  • Continue investing in capacity development and transparent publication of evaluations for development. ODA providers should continue to support capacity development for monitoring, evaluation and learning, and keep their commitment to transparently share evaluations and results. The Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI) and the international initiative for impact evaluation (3ie) provide interesting examples. GEI receives support from a number of bilateral and multilateral ODA providers. It brings together a coalition of governments, international and national development organisations, and monitoring and evaluation experts to pool financial and technical resources to co-ordinate and expand M&E efforts globally. Similarly, 3ie funds and deploys impact evaluations, and synthesises rigorous evidence on development effectiveness.

  • Credibly monitor and evaluate the results of blended finance strategies, and share lessons with multiple stakeholders, including foundations. ODA providers could work with philanthropic and other development stakeholders to maximise the sharing of knowledge on blended finance in developing countries and incentivise foundations to contribute to such mechanisms. For instance, in venues that promote international dialogue on blended finance among a variety of stakeholders, such as the Tri Hita Karana (THK) platform, ODA providers could share their expertise on developing and supporting blended finance solutions, and invite foundations to join forces in developing countries where they are already active. In an ecosystem that is still relatively untransparent, such efforts would be amplified by a more systematic sharing of information from philanthropists, as mentioned throughout this report. Both ODA providers and foundations should credibly monitor and evaluate the results of their blended finance strategies, and more transparently share findings.


[9] Ganimian, A., E. Vegas and F. Hess (2020), Realizing the promise: how can education technology improve learning for all?, Brookings Institution, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/edtech_playbook_full_v2.pdf.

[5] Harvard Family Research Project (2014), A User’s Guide to Advocacy Evaluation Planning, https://www.indianaafterschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/UserGuideAdvocacyEvaluationPlanning_1.pdf.

[7] Korwin Consulting (2018), Evaluating Policy Advocacy & Movements A Resource Guide, https://korwinconsulting.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Policy-Advocacy-Evaluation-Resources-Guide-10.18-1.pdf.

[2] Ministry of Corporate Affairs of India (2013), The Companies Act 2013, https://www.mca.gov.in/Ministry/pdf/CompaniesAct2013.pdf.

[6] Morariu, J. et al. (2009), Pathfinder - Advocate Edition: A Practical Guide to Advocacy Evaluation, Innovation Network, Inc., https://innonet.org/media/pathfinder_advocate_web.pdf.

[8] OECD (2021), Beyond Academic Learning: First Results from the Survey of Social and Emotional Skills, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/92a11084-en.

[10] OECD (2020), Taxation and Philanthropy, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/df434a77-en.

[3] OECD (2010), Quality Standards for Development Evaluation, DAC Guidelines and Reference Series, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264083905-en.

[1] OECD (n.d.), Creditor Reporting System (CRS), https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=crs1.

[4] Teles, S. and M. Schmitt (2012), The Elusive Craft of Evaluating Advocacy, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, https://hewlett.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Elusive_Craft.pdf.

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