Join the ride: a short course on re thinking funding models within the Evolving Think Tanks Series

[Editor’s Note: As part of the Evolving Think Tanks Series of the On Think Tanks School, P&I team will deliver the short course “Re-thinking your funding model”.]   

Funding is a key concern for every think tank due to how it affects its sustainability, the people that are part of it, the type of research that it can undertake, as well as the potential for having real policy influence.

Even though there is an ample offer of capacity building efforts that focus on how to do effective fundraising, little has been done in terms of systematising different existing funding models, along with their implications and consequences on think tanks’ performance, relevance, identity and sustainability.

There is also increasing interest from think tanks in developing countries for understanding how to develop or strengthen domestic support for their work, often recognising that they rely too heavily on international cooperation or on conducting isolated projects under a consultancy model. However, very few organisations and individuals in developing countries can allocate resources (time and funds, in particular) to produce and/or discuss existing knowledge on these issues.

This course systematises what is known about the funding models that currently prevail in the South and analyses their implications and consequences so as to provide participating think tanks with better evidence to support key decisions regarding their identity, sustainability and relevance.

Who is this for?

This Short Course is for leaders and fundraisers of think tanks and research organisations interested in reflecting on their own funding model and learning from different experiences in order to strengthen their long term sustainability.

The module aims at helping those looking to:

  • Raise awareness about the different ways of generating and using funding and their implications for the organisation and its members, and
  • Socialise new ideas and innovative practices for better managing multiple funding models.

There are limited spaces and those participating are expected to be actively engaged in the process (before, during and after the webinars).


This Short Course consists of the following:

  • A background note on how to re-think and strengthen your funding model.
  • An online forum to share comments, experiences and pose questions with the trainers and other participants.
  • Two webinars facilitated by the Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt.
  • The delivery of a practical exercise to apply the lessons learned to your organisation which will receive personalised feedback from the trainers.

What will we cover?

The outline of the Short Course will cover:

Background Note on funding models: an introduction to business models

  • An introduction to what is a funding model,  the different ideal types and what a successful model should look like

Discussion Forum:

  • Identifying main opportunities and threats of our funding model

First Webinar: the health of your funding model

  • What is a funding model?
  • Different types of models.
  • Basic and Alternative Models.
  • Implications on Research, Policy Influence and Communications. 

Second Webinar: Developing new sources of funding

  • Why is it important?
  • How to start?
  • Potential avenues for generating new income: advantages and risks/costs.
  • Policies and strategies to soundly manage the diverse sources of funding

Personal Task: Develop a lean action plan to strengthen your current funding model.

Key dates

Background note and discussion forum will be available from: May 3rd

Webinar 1: May 10th

Webinar 2: May 24th

Delivery of exercise: May 31st

Exact times of the webinars will be defined once we know who is participating.


Vanesa Weyrauch: Vanesa is co-founder of Politics & Ideas, a think net focused in the interaction between research and policy, and Associate Researcher at CIPPEC, Argentina. She has worked in the policy and research field for the past 12 years, especially with think tanks in Latin America. She has created several online courses on topics like policy influence planning, designing policy relevant research agendas, funding models, research communications and monitoring & evaluating policy influence addressed to think tanks in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Vanesa has recently developed and implemented an online course to help policymakers promote the use of research in policy. She also works as mentor with several think tanks in developing countries, particularly in communications, policy influence, funding and monitoring and evaluation. She has evaluated different policy influence projects/programs/organisations (for example, the Think Tank Initiative´s Capacity Building Phase 1).  She has worked as Institutional Development Director at CIPPEC (a leading think tank in Argentina) from 2002-2006 and then created and led the Policy Influence program in this think tank. She has authored several papers and handbooks.

She holds a BA in Social Communications from Universidad Austral (Argentina) and a Certificate of Special Studies in Management and Administration from Harvard University.

Leandro Echt: Leandro is an independent consultant,  member of Politics & Ideas and On Think Tanks who works on research and policy, focusing on think tanks and civil society organisations and on developing their capacities to influence policy. He works as a consultant for the Center of Analysis and Dissemination of the Paraguayan Economy (CADEP). He worked for more than five years at the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC), in Argentina, as the Coordinator of the Influence, Monitoring and Evaluation Program. Among other initiatives he coordinated the program “Spaces for engagement: using knowledge to improve public decisions”, a six-year program by CIPPEC and GDNet aimed at developing Latin American, African and Asian think tanks and researchers capacities for policy influence. He also coordinated the online platform: Bridging Research and Policy in Latin America (VIPPAL).

Leandro holds a M.A. in Public Policies and Development Management, a Diploma on Evaluation of Public Policies and a BA in Political Sciences, and he is also a Professor of Political Sciences.

You can also join the whole series of 6 courses at a significant discount.


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