Key notes for networks in 2019

by Polina Nyukhina, Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum

In April 2019, WINGS (Worldwide Initiative for Grantmaker Support, Brazil) gathered CEOs and philanthropy leaders of worldwide philanthropic networks at the “Driving Philanthropy to the Future” meeting in Jamaica. It was a truly global space where we got to share our philanthropic experience as well as discuss challenges in a safe friendly space. The three days were packed with lectures, workshops and group work on creating the future vision of the philanthropic sector, including the best practices of member engagement, network enlargement, and modern approaches on strengthening organizational capacity.

Will philanthropy become a catalyzing force in the future? How could membership association and networks help? What should we do right now to change the narrative of philanthropy in order to cope with challenges? The right answer might be – to find the common language and to promote the sector or organization’s values clearly. WINGS and DAFNE propose to use the 4Cs framework for defining our own values and building the capacity of networks themselves and member`s organizations as well. What is 4Cs about? Capacity, Capability, Connection and Credibility. There are 4 zones for reflection and planning. A simple example of this framework usage might be like the following. Speaking about capacity, we always speak about -money, but the amount of resources we may need is broader. We strongly need an expertise for cross-sector collaboration and meeting society’s needs. But do we pay real attention for building strong connections and care about credibility of our organizations day by day? To my mind, the main idea of 4 Cs framework is to define the strong and the weak sides over 4 zones with only 12 outcomes and plan your activities properly. Meanwhile the indicators could be chosen proceeding from the specific background of each organization which uses the framework. Moreover, the work with indicators could bring us an Indicator’s Bank: a kind of database with the relevant indicators which we can use by ourselves or propose this information for stakeholders like a segment of philanthropic expertise. As a result we’ll get not only the opportunity to analyze point “A” of our current standing, but also to define point “B” for the next years as wells as to map all the way from “A” to “B”.

Another topic that resonated with me from the meeting was around data collection. We’re living in fast times with the critical influence of technologies on all sides of society. Generation of millennials which will lead the future in a decade appreciates data more than traditional backgrounds or researches, and the modern approach to use digital tools, social media, and cloud storage is an important necessity. Collection and processing data could help to define different groups with different needs within one organization and to build various strategies to work with these groups correctly. Having research data about your beneficiary, stakeholders, members is a base for building a sustainability strategy for the organization, which is critically important in nowadays. “Time is a king, not money”, said Doug Miller, Founder Chairman of AVPN and EVPA, broad associations form Asia and Europe with the wise and simple sustainability model “connect-learn-lead”.

The PSE model introduced by Benjamin Bellegy, WINGS (Brazil), defined strong Philanthropy Supports Ecosystem as having many components: urgency, complexity and scale, critical thinking, democracy challenges and giving potential. Infrastructure organization’s key roles in this model might be: conveners, umbrella bodies, donor’s educators, advocates. Infrastructure’s functions are services and support for the whole sector, that’s why philanthropic infrastructure deserves funding itself. The steps for promoting importance of infrastructure could begin from raising the understanding of the added value and real need of other organizations in it and after that, designing the best model which will meet defined needs. Then users of a rebuilt (or reimagined) infrastructure could become the best ambassadors of it.

The importance of raising awareness and deep understanding of the sector by the whole society continued by Erika Sanchez Saez, GIFE (Brazil). Speaking about the political crisis in her country and its influence on philanthropic sector, she mentioned that the government made accusations on the third sector’s inability or insufficiency in creating impact (or at least measuring it and making it known). Well defined and presenting the clear communicated value of the sector at the whole and the role of infrastructure organization in developing this sector are critical. That is why communication values and impact should be among priorities and developed as well as strategical approaches, education projects and advocacy campaigns.

To sum up, our time in Jamaica was intensive and an efficient use of 3 days with colleagues from all over the world. I would like to warmly thank the organizers and contributors to the meeting. It was really full of insights, useful sharing and new knowledge. Don’t hesitate to use WINGS Knowledge Center to raise your awareness and study new approaches in philanthropic sector.


Polina Circle Picture


Polina Nyukhina

Director, Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum

Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum (UPF) – Ukraine’s first professional association of charitable foundations and organizations. Forum was established in 2005 at the initiative of seven international and domestic foundations. Forum is a member of DAFNE – The Donors and Foundations’ Networks in Europe; WINGS – Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support network, and a signatory of the UN Global Compact Ukrainian network.

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