The world is difficult to predict, many things can go in a different way as planned, and the social sector is no exception. The list of things that can go wrong is huge, from natural disasters, to lack of funding, etc.

To get a better understanding of what can go wrong, Open Road Alliance conducted an analysis of 102 applications from the past five years. The results of this research provide the first ever empirical dataset on “what goes wrong” in impact focused projects.

The most remarkable finding was that funder created obstacles make up 46% of the roadblock data set, meaning that funders inadvertently are jeopardizing the impact of their own investments. Among the funder created obstacles we can find delay of disbursement, a change in funder strategy, and funder policy inflexibility. Additionally, acts of God or market economics represent a 27% of the observations, and Organization Misfortune also represent a 27% of the roadblocks in the study.

These results are bad news because funders unintentionally had created restrictions, policies, among other things that make more difficult for organizations to achieve their mission. The good news are the funders also have the power to change the conditions so their grantees can accomplish their goals. Some ideas for funders to keep the impact on track are improving the communication with their grantees, it is important to adequately communicate what is needed, and also to stablish an optimal frequency of communication. Additionally, it is essential to have organizational flexibility, it may be useful for funders to review their policies and procedures and have a budget for contingencies. These small changes may generate a huge impact in grantees, and it could be a good way to keep their impact on track.

More information about the roadblock analysis report can be found in Open Road Alliance’s website in the link down below:


Roadblock Analysis Report



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