In a community of philanthropists seeking maximum impact, we believe that traditional funding structures and attitudes have room to improve.

Browse this page for case studies, stories and perspectives on risk in philanthropy.

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Risk Management Cycle

Perspectives on Risk in Philanthropy

Open Road Resource
A Call for Nonprofit Risk Management
This post was originally featured on Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Open Road Resource
Impact Investing: What Do Emerging Social Entrepreneurs Really Need?
This post was originally featured on Forbes.
Open Road Resource
Contingency Strategies, Mitigation Strategies
About Open Road
Watch this short 3-minute video to learn more about what Open Road does, and why we do it.
Open Road Resource
Accountability: The Golden Opportunity in Impact Investing
This post was originally featured on Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Open Road Resource
The “Other” Investment Policy Statement
This post was originally featured on Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Open Road Resource
Philanthropy Lessons: Risk and Mistakes [Video]
This video is one of the newest videos released by Exponent Philanthropy as part of their series Philanthropy Lessons.
Open Road Resource
How to Find Breakthrough Ideas
This post was originally featured on Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Open Road Resource
Expanding your comfort zone: Managing risk
This post was originally featured on National Center for Family Philanthropy.
Open Road Resource
Innovation Is Not the Holy Grail
This post was originally featured on Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Open Road Resource
What Are the Five Most Common Traps I Should Avoid in My Philanthropy?
This post was originally featured on Bridgespan.
Open Road Resource
The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle
This post was originally featured on Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Open Road Alliance
1 in 5 projects encounter unexpected obstacles
83% of funders don't budget for contingencies
48% of non-profits are uncomfortable talking to their funders about risk

Risk & Philanthropy

The world is unpredictable. However, the philanthropic financial market is not structured to deal with the unexpected.

No industry standards currently exist for discussing, assessing, or planning for risk in philanthropy. Few grantmakers assess risk during the grant application process, and even fewer have processes in place to respond to anticipatable risks once a project is underway. The problem is not that philanthropists consciously seek to avoid risk; in fact research shows that funders often describe themselves as risk-taking. The problem is that, without the appropriate structures in place, philanthropy’s noble intention to take risks for the common good remains largely a noble intention. Without taking steps to accurately identify, understand, and manage risk, philanthropy’s ability to play the risk-taking role it has set itself is severely limited. By the same token, foundations have a significant opportunity to increase the impact of their grantmaking by taking concrete steps to proactively identify, measure, and mitigate risk.

Through research, collaboration, and advocacy, Open Road Alliance hopes to solve this gap in practice by providing tools, templates, and best practices for risk management in philanthropy.

 

Research

Tools & Templates

Stories of Risk Management in Action

In addition to this work, we provide the necessary, fast, flexible capital to help organizations overcome the unexpected.

OR In The News

News / May. 24, 2017
The Rockefeller Foundation
Making Risk Routine
by Pam Foster & Ellen Taus
“Philanthropy is risk capital.” If you work in philanthropy, you’ve likely heard that phrase many times. But a survey conducted by Open Road Alliance in 2015 clearly showed that as a sector, we’re not great about discussing risk, with 76 percent of funders reporting that they don’t ask grantees to talk... Read more »
News / May. 19, 2017
SSIR
Navigating Risk in Impact-Focused Philanthropy
This special supplement in Stanford Social Innovation Review, produced by Open Road Alliance in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, examines the concept of risk in philanthropy, providing insights, examples, and practical steps to help philanthropists better account for and manage risk as an integral part of the grantmaking process.
News / May. 13, 2017
Wealth Management
Maximize ROI of Charitable Giving
by Cliff Schlesinger
Four tips to manage risks.
News / May. 12, 2017
Huffington Post
Women in Business Q&A: Maya Winkelstein, Executive Director, Open Road Alliance
by Laura Emily Dunn
An interview with Maya Winkelstein, Executive Director of Open Road Alliance.
Open Road Alliance

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