Networks for Good: A Funder’s Guide

Preliminary Outline, April 18, 2011

New Ask: We'd love your thoughts / reactions on the draft of the guide, specifically:
<Questions sent to Roberto: General reactions -- what works what didn't? What's missing? What's not needed / what can we drop? What additional examples / experiences from your work or others might we include to illustrate ideas?> You can. No 3. New set

The "Ask"

We'd love your thoughts / reflections on the preliminary outline of the guide, specifically:
  1. How can overall the framing be improved?
  2. What’s missing?
  3. What needs to be highlighted / prioritized?
  4. Reactions to the cases? What other cases ought to be included? Most of the cases are funder initiated. What criteria would you use for networks / network-centric projects that aren’t funder initiated?

Here are a number of options for sharing your feedback:
  1. Join our NNF call next week: Monday, April 25 at 11AM PT. Dial-in: 1-213-289-5450x7697887
  2. Directly on the wiki, by following the links on this page to their respective outline pages. Please do so in a different color, and make sure to include you name! (Jessica)
  3. In the "Discussion" tab of the wiki.There are " discussions" started for the 4 questions above
  4. Email / call Diana or Jessica directly! Our contact information is as follows: Diana (, 415-932-5372) or Jessica (, 415-932-5431)

Here's a PDF version of the entire Funder's Guide Preliminary Outline:


  • Who’s the Guide for?
  • What’s in It? How to Use It?
  • Origins of this work

  • Why do networks matter for grantmakers?
  • What’s network-centric grantmaking?

Part 1: Networks 101
  • What are networks?
  • What are networks good for?
  • What’s the secret sauce?
  • How do networks grow and change over time?
  • Sidebar: Additional Resources

Part 2: Work with a Network Mindset
  • What does it mean to work with a network mindset?
  • What are the challenges?
  • How to create environments that encourage working with a network mindset?
  • To get started….
  • Sidebar: Additional Resources

Part 3: Support and Catalyze Networks
  • When to catalyze and invest in networks? When doesn’t it make sense?
  • How can foundations support networks?
  • What roles can foundations play in networks?
  • How should a foundation’s networks work be staffed? What skills and characteristics are needed for this work?
  • Risks and exit strategies
  • Sidebar: Additional Resources

Part 4: Contribute to Learning
  • Experiment and Learn Openly
  • Take a network lens to your evaluation of networks
  • Why is assessing network impact difficult?
  • Getting started
  • What needs to be assessed?
  • What principles should inform network impact assessment?
  • What skills are needed to effectively contribute to learning and assess network impact?
  • Sidebar: Additional Resources

Part 5: Tools to Help Grantmakers Work with Networks
  • What constitutes a healthy network?
  • Overview of social network mapping and analysis (SNA), how funders can use it, and what’s required
  • How does complexity theory and systems dynamics relate to network theory?
  • How to hold network space?
  • Tips for effective facilitation -- online and in-person
  • Open Space
  • Network governance. Decision-making in a network context
  • Considerations for working in a global context (what different between place-based networks and GANS?)

Part 6: Networks in Action: Stories of foundations working with a network mindset and supporting networks
We’ll include a set of stories organized against a typology that tracks with the outline. Many of these will be mentioned in other parts of the Guide with reference to the full story included in this section.
  • Annie E Casey Making Connections
  • Barr Foundation After School Sports Network
  • Community Foundation for Monterey County Social Network Support Project
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation OE Wiki
  • Garfield Foundation RE-AMP Network
  • Hawaii Community Foundation Schools of the Future
  • Lawrence Community Works
  • Lumpkin Foundation
  • Maine Network Partners Franklin County Community College Network
  • Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation Network Officer Position
  • Reboot Network
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Web 2.0 Philanthropy Initiative
  • TechSoup Global
  • Wikimedia Foundation Wikimedia Strategy Project
  • WiserEarth

Part 7: Resources
  • Glossary of terms
  • Credits and thanks
  • Endnotes

Click here to go to a version 1.0 of the Funders Guide to Networks from spring 2010