A practical guide to outcome-focused philanthropy

(Credit: Kathryn Rummel/Rapt Productions; right, Tim Peterson)
(Credit: Kathryn Rummel/Rapt Productions; right, Tim Peterson)

Outcome-focused philanthropy is the Hewlett Foundation’s approach to how we practice strategic philanthropy. It guides how we do our work, from start to finish.

We’ve been practicing strategic philanthropy for more than a decade—focusing on what problem or opportunity we’re trying to address, whether we’re achieving our outcomes and why (or why not), and how we’ll know. Outcome-focused philanthropy, OFP for short, builds on our experience and lessons learned.

OFP maintains our commitment to rigor and results. But it gives equal weight to ongoing learning and adaptation—to ensure staff and grantees have the flexibility they need to succeed. And it embodies our commitment to working in partnership with other funders and organizations.

A Practical Guide to Outcome-Focused Philanthropy” is a roadmap for our staff as they work across the four stages of a strategy’s lifecycle: origination; implementation; refresh, and exit. The guidebook includes a set of worksheets that provide an at-a-glance overview of what staff need to think about and do at each stage. These worksheets also are available as a standalone document.

The OFP guidebook is primarily for Hewlett Foundation staff—in both our programs and other departments whose work is equally essential for our strategies to succeed. But we hope our grantees and other funders also will find it helpful. Their work has greatly informed our own.

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