Archive for the ‘The Philanthropy Workshop’ Category

Sharing the lessons of The Philanthropy Workshop 2013

June 21, 2013

For almost two decades, The Philanthropy Workshop has worked to create a dynamic network of strategic philanthropists who today are making a difference all around the world. As the latest cohort (our 19th!) recently finished the programme in New York, we wanted to share some of their key lessons from the year, and exciting plans for what they will do next.

This year’s group, hailing from the US, Canada, the Philippines, Sweden and the UK began the programme in London in October 2012, and travelled through Argentina and Chile in March before completing the course in May.

Perhaps the most poignant observation from this year’s programme was the relevance of sustainability to all causes people seek to positively advance. Traversing the dramatic wild landscapes in Patagonia illuminated how our well-being is inextricably intertwined with the well-being of the natural world around us. In the words of one of our hosts: “The full realisation of the human being, in a context of individual, social and environmental harmony, is the central focus of sustainable development”. Many members of the cohort expressed that this deeper appreciation for the issue of sustainability will undoubtedly influence their philanthropy- and indeed many other aspects of their lives.

A theme which recurred throughout this year’s programme is that of collaboration- not just among donors or their beneficiaries, but across the whole spectrum of agents and stakeholders in any given issue. The “Theory of Aligned Contributions” helped the group think through what role they might play in achieving impact collectively with others.  As one participant reflected at the end of our final week: “fitting your contributions into the right partnership unlocks great potential.” A number of participants were particularly struck by the recommendation to remember to speak to those who they do not agree with, and to look for allies in unexpected places.

A liberating tip offered this year is to “fail forward,” as one member of the group described it; “starting with what you can and evolving as you go, aiming for progress and not perfection, and learning from your mistakes.” And we were reminded that philanthropy is a practice. As much as TPW is about giving emerging philanthropists the time and space to develop their giving strategies, there is only so much that can be set out on paper and there is much to be learned by doing.

At the end of the programme, we had the opportunity to hear from each participant about their philanthropic plans, which, among other things, will include incubating and scaling social enterprises in the Philippines; connecting social activists around the globe with vital advocacy resources and tools; developing a portfolio of organisations in Stockholm to improve prospects for some of the world’s poorest girls; changing the trajectory of vulnerable women in Canada; and preserving some of the last remaining intact ecosystems in the United States.

Written by Natalie Tucker, Programme Officer for The Philanthropy Workshop

We look forward to welcoming our 20th Cohort to TPW this October, for information about joining us please see here or contact The Philanthropy Workshop team at tpw@instituteforphilanthropy.org or on +44 (0) 207 040 0262 (in the UK) or +1 212 513 0020 (in the US).

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After The Giving Pledge: Giving Behaviour of 22 Donors

June 4, 2013

In February this year, the Gates Foundation announced that the Giving Pledge, founded by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010, would for the first time extend its invitation to wealthy donors outside the US.  They added twelve signatories from eight non-US countries, bringing the total number of those who have so far taken the Pledge to 105. In response to this announcement, we conducted a survey of our own network of philanthropists to gauge their attitudes to the Pledge, the results of which can be viewed here. The findings of the survey raised several interesting points, of which the question of timeframe over which to disburse philanthropic assets was one.

To drill deeper into this issue, and to respond to interest from alumni of our donor education programmes, we asked philanthropists within our networks about the rate at which they intend to deploy their philanthropic assets.  They provided us with the following response about their giving behaviour.

About the 22 donors who responded to our survey

  • They come from the UK, the US, Brazil, Canada, Lebanon and Mexico;
  • They give away an annual average of $2,168,050;
  • Their foundations have an average endowment of $79,081,250;
  • Their areas of philanthropic giving, in order of frequency, are: education; children and youth; community re-generation; environment; healthcare; international development; women and girls; board governance; impact investing; reproductive health; film as a vehicle for social change; local charities; technology; transparency; human rights; encouraging philanthropy; encouraging non-profit impact; alleviation of poverty; religion; and historic preservation.
  • Eight donors had made provision for their families to pursue their own philanthropic goals separate to their own philanthropy.  Eight had not, and four others had not yet decided.

The rates of their giving

  • Of the twenty-two donors, seven had decided the precise time-frames within which they were looking to give away all of their philanthropic capital.  Three of them aim to do so within the next ten years; two of them aim to do so five to ten years after their death; one over the next five to eight years; and one over the course of the next twenty years.
  • One of the donors commented that “I strongly believe that philanthropy can be more effective when driven by the wishes and strategy of a living donor. Long-lasting philanthropic institutions can become sclerotic and bureaucratic, not always but often. Family foundations may end up with their hands tied, by a legacy directed at tackling a social problem that no longer exists. Innovation and risk taking is often reduced.
  • Another stated thatRisk taking and innovation are crucial for philanthropy. Philanthropy needs to be able to adapt as social problems and the needs of society change over time.”

The percentages of their giving

graph

The values and beliefs that drive their giving

  • “Partnership: the more we (civil society, philanthropists, NGOs and activists) can work together towards a cause, the faster we can move the needle.  Engagement: not only personal engagement, but moral and legal and financial engagement.  Empower the organisation so they do the best they can to move the needle. Help the executive team to excel in their strategy and operations to achieve their mission and reach goals they have set with their trustees (and other constituencies).”
  • “I focus on leadership and because my funds are limited, I support smallish charities with dynamic leadership in unattractive and unpopular fields where it is difficult to raise funds.”
  • “Philanthropic capital should be deployed in the most strategic way possible.”
  • “I generally believe in addressing the needs of underserved poor in the neediest parts of the world (where I have worked for much of my professional life), not the arts or environmental needs so popular among donors here at home, or SOBs (symphony, opera, ballet) – as much as I love them personally.”
  • “Everybody deserves the opportunity to grow in a safe environment, with responsible, caring and self-sufficient parents, as well, to receive quality education. Seeing how many individuals and communities have improved their lives as a result of my father´s work in philanthropy is the best example of the importance of philanthropy in my life.”

www.instituteforphilanthropy.org

For more information please contact:

Mary Glanville

Mary.Glanville@instituteforphilanthropy.org

+44 (0) 207 2400626

Sharing ideas: the Nexus Europe Youth Summit and Module Three of The Philanthropy Workshop

May 15, 2013

On Saturday the 11th May, we had the great pleasure of taking part in the Nexus Europe Youth Summit on Innovative Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship at The Clubhouse in Central London. In the words of the organisers, the Summit “brought together philanthropists, investors, social entrepreneurs and allies under the age of 40 from across Europe, to inspire new leadership, greater generosity and more strategic investing in social and environmental projects”.

The Institute organised a breakout session in the afternoon under the headline, “New Models in Philanthropy – If it ain’t broke why fix it?”; Mary Glanville, Managing Director of the Institute for Philanthropy in the UK, facilitated an animated discussion between two eminent philanthropists with different approaches to giving, Fran Perrin and Marcelle Speller. Fran is the Founder and Director of the Indigo Trust, a grant-making trust that funds technology-driven projects that bring about social change, largely in African countries; and Marcelle is the Founder and CEO of the online fundraising platform for small and local charities, Localgiving.com.

The session kicked off with a discussion around the role of philanthropists today. Fran put forward the view that philanthropists ought to use their unique position to fund innovative, potentially risky, projects that the Government cannot. In some cases, that might mean providing capital in order to test a new model for delivery (governments often find it difficult to invest in “unproven” organisations or models). Marcelle agreed that philanthropists need to recognise their comparative advantage in the social change ecosystem by providing “more than money”: philanthropic investments must add up to “more than the sum of their parts”, and effect change well beyond the value of the initial investment.

Bringing “more than money” to philanthropy was a theme that ran through the discussions. Marcelle co-founded Holiday-Rentals.com in 1996, and when she sold the business in 2005 she sought to apply her business experience from Holiday Rentals to her philanthropy. Marcelle has not only built a successful platform from which oft-overlooked social groups can raise money and awareness of their work, but she’s also leveraged substantial funds from other institutions, including Government. Earlier this year, Localgiving.com ran a matched fund which raised an impressive total of £1.2 million from an initial £500,000 investment from the Office for Civil Society.

Fran has similarly applied her professional skills to her philanthropy, using her extensive knowledge of online and digital technologies to assess grant applications and offer advice to Indigo Trust grantees. However, whilst Fran and Marcelle have applied their substantial existing experience to philanthropy, they both recognise the need to network and learn from others. For Fran in particular, this is also about publicly sharing detailed information about the grants the Indigo Trust makes. This strong belief in funder transparency has led Indigo to sign up to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), a consistent way of publishing information about international aid.

Sharing insight and experience lies at the core of the Institute’s flagship donor education programme, The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW). TPW provides a confidential forum in which philanthropists may seek advice of their peers, get feedback, and share learnings from achievements (and failures!). This week, members of Cohort 19 of TPW are convening in New York for the third module of learning of the programme. Participants will gain practical knowledge on essential tools to measure results, learn about advocacy as a tool for social change, and receive constructive feedback on their individual strategies for giving. Upon graduation from the Workshop, they will join a supportive group of TPW alumni with whom they will continue to network and develop their knowledge of philanthropy.

For information about joining the next cohort of TPW, please see here or contact The Philanthropy Workshop team at tpw@instituteforphilanthropy.org or on +44 (0) 207 040 0262 (in the UK) or +1 212 513 0020 (in the US). 

A response to the Giving Pledge announcement

February 19, 2013

The Giving Pledge is the most high profile public campaign promoting philanthropy among the wealthy. A unique, international survey of high net worth individuals has been conducted by the Institute for Philanthropy which reveals the attitudes of philanthropists to the Giving Pledge.

The majority of respondents (68.4%) estimate that they will give up to 50% of their wealth in their lifetimes. Of the 26.3% of respondents who estimated that they will give at least 50% of their wealth in their lifetimes less than half (four of ten) have signed up to the Giving Pledge or adopted its principles.  Two people (5%) did not respond to this question. 18.42% estimate they will give between 51-75% of wealth; 7.9% estimate they will give over 76% of wealth.  Furthermore, the majority have already decided the way in which they will carry out their giving (in their lifetimes, or through a vehicle after their death, for example).

David Sainsbury, one of the new Giving Pledge signatories announced today, explains his motivations for philanthropy: “A number of years ago my wife, Susie, and I decided that spending any more money on ourselves or our family would not add anything to our happiness, but that using it to support social progress was something that we both found deeply fulfilling. We, therefore, decided to transfer gradually most of our wealth to our charitable trusts, and looking back that has turned out to be a very life-enhancing decision.”

The motive for the four philanthropists who completed the survey and who have signed up to the Giving Pledge or have adopted principles is “Wish to devote the majority of wealth to good causes”, not “Wish to encourage other people to become more involved in philanthropy” or “Belief that wealth is a burden on future generations”.

Interestingly, our results indicate that the number of philanthropists who have already made the decision to commit the majority of their wealth to good causes is potentially much greater than the Giving Pledge campaign implies.

This could be due to a low level of knowledge of the Pledge among philanthropists (just over half of the respondents had heard of the Giving Pledge and knew what it consisted of (55.2%) and of those who have not heard of the Giving Pledge, half are in the UK (four people) and half in North America (three from the US and one from Canada)).

There are however other factors beyond a lack of knowledge: our survey found that the most common consideration behind not signing the Pledge or adopting principles is a desire to remain private. The second most popular consideration was a wish to pass wealth to future generations.

NOTES:

  • Respondents came from seven different countries, the UK (39.5%) and US (36.8%) were the most common geographies, however we also had respondents from Canada, Mexico, Netherlands, Finland and Italy.
  • The average annual giving of respondents is $1,532,941 (result possibly skewed by two donors who are giving away very large sums of money). One third of respondents are giving away at least $1m annually.
  • Of those who have signed up or have adopted the principles of the Giving Pledge, these people are giving away at least $1m philanthropically a year
  • The timeframe in which giving will take place is fairly mixed: 26.3% said the majority of giving would be carried out during the philanthropists lifetime, 31.5% said that there would be a vehicle for philanthropy after their death, and 29% said that they had not decided yet.
  • The majority of respondents reported they believed that the Giving Pledge would result in an increase in philanthropic money (71%).
  • Many respondents expressed the belief that the role of philanthropy was not just to “throw money at problems”; rather it should be well-researched, thought through and strategically deployed for impact. As one donor said of the Giving Pledge: “money shouldn’t be the only thing acknowledged”.
  • The survey was distributed throughout an influential network of philanthropists, many of whom have graduated from The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW) programme which educates major donors in the skills of strategic philanthropy.
  • 38 people responded to the survey

www.instituteforphilanthropy.org

For more information please contact:

Daisy Wakefield,

daisy@instituteforphilanthropy.org

+44 (0) 207 2400626

The future of philanthropy: collaboration and partnerships are increasingly important

February 6, 2013

A growing trend, identified in the annual Family Foundation Giving Trends (PDF) report released in December 2012, is an increase in existing and proposed strategic collaboration and financial partnerships among donors. This is a trend that we have seen grow within our own influential network of philanthropists, many of whom have graduated from The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW) programme which educates major donors in the skills of strategic philanthropy.

These partnerships go beyond “traditional” giving circles and co-funding opportunities. The Indigo Trust funds technology driven projects primarily in Africa, but also uses social and digital media to connect with other funders and share insight. The fundraising community can benefit greatly from the expanded use of social media by donors, gaining a valuable insight into their activities and requirements. The Oak Foundation, which is led by TPW alumnus Dr. Kristian Parker, has taken part in large-scale collaborations with other donors in order to leverage resources, for example to create an institution or fill a gap in infrastructure.

While collaboration and partnership are not new concepts, they are becoming an increasingly important part of the way in which philanthropists work. Facilitated by new technologies, partnerships formed for a range of objectives are set to become commonplace among philanthropists wishing to maximise the impact of their work.

By Mary Glanville, Managing Director of the Institute for Philanthropy in the UK.

This post first appeared in the January – March 2013 edition of Bond‘s “The Networker” magazine. Please click here to read the full magazine (PDF).