2004-2013 Impact Report

Oct 1, 2014
This first and final report of the ONE Foundation sets out the story of ONE over it's ten-year lifespan. Section 2 describes the key decisions that shaped ONE and how these unfolded over time. Section 3 outlines the goals, strategies and outcomes of the four programmes we chose to invest in, and highlights what we believe was achieved through our funds and efforts. Section 4 gives examples of initiatives we undertook that didn't seem to fit in, and yet played an important role in the end. Section 5 describes what we did to plan for and support exit from long-term grantees during difficult economic times. Perhaps most importantly, section 6 outlines the lessons we learned. We are happy to share what we believe were the key drivers of our successes (and failures) so that the next generation of philanthropists and social changemakers can benefit from our experience. Section 7 sums up ONE's legacy, if there is one. We can hardly ever agree on that at ONE.
  • Focus your efforts on a limited number of fields or problems. 'Going deep' increases the likelihood of success.
  • Choosing a limited life model really focuses the mind. Ten years was right for us -- long enough to get things done, to make mistakes and apply the learning, but short enough to be able to see the end at the beginning.
  • Pick an investment model that works for your mission and your organisation's 'personality'.
  • As a new foundation, with no track record, being able to assure grantees and co-funders upfront that we had a policy of not seeking media coverage built trust that we were not trying to steal their game. Later, when we began to engage with policymakers, this was even more important.
  • Time and again, we learned that it is People and Leaders that solve problems, invent solutions and drive results.
  • Plan, do, reflect ... plan, do, reflect - The High Scope curriculum for pre-school children uses this strategy, but it's surprisingly hard to find among the adult population! It's not rocket science, but it worked for us.
  • Give Permission to Fail ... and live it. Would our grantees agree with this point? Perhaps not. However, we did always encourage them to take risks and supported them in doing so. But it's hard to argue that performance-based funding gives permission to fail. We did however give permission to fail to our staff at ONE - we saw this as a key requirement in encouraging innovation and risk-taking from a team of generalists all learning on the job.
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