The Platform for Performance: Integrating Organization into Strategy for Next Generation Grantmaking

Framing next generation philanthropic strategy.

This paper seeks to: 1) reframe capacity building as part of overall strategy and performance planning; 2) focus and prioritize capacity-building to ensure it aligns with organizational goals, theory of change, and the broader strategic operating context; and 3) differentiate between basic capacity and a higher level of sustainable performance capacity.

The core concept of the piece is to frame what we believe is a next generation model for philanthropic strategy based on an integration of organizational capacity and strategy. This integration, which we call the “platform for performance,” brings together many of the traditional aspects of organizational effectiveness, with more recent thinking about strategic philanthropy driven by such things as “theory of change” and measurable outcomes, etc. We believe that re-framing critical organizational elements as a part of overall grant-making strategy—is an overdue integration, and is the key not just to achieving impact but sustainable impact.  We also argue in the paper that there is an emerging trend—and increasing practice of—approaching organizational development not just for individual grantee organizations, but as a collective good across multiple grantees, i.e. the emerging paradigm of “platform for performance” is also something that should be tended and developed as a change-making community of practice “ecosystem” strategy.