Current studies on work in the foundation and philanthropy sector – where are we heading?

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The summer break is over! Many of us have come back from our summer holidays radiant, having had exciting new experiences. This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on our work in the foundation and philanthropy sector: where should we be heading in the coming months and years?

In the last few weeks, some publications have been published, which can give us some interesting ideas.

The Global Philanthropy Report

"The Global Philanthropy Report: Perspectives on the global foundation sector" was produced by experts from the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University and financed by UBS. The authors believe that we are in a “global age of philanthropy” today and that philanthropy will have an important social and economic impact if it continues to develop as it has over the last 25 years. However, the authors also came to the conclusion that the intended effects can only be achieved if foundations cooperate. Overall, the report offers a good opportunity to reflect on the work of our own foundations, alongside learning from the results presented in four chapters on scale, age, classification; financial resources and expenditures; priorities and purposes; and operational strategies and approaches.

The future of philanthropy

"Future Agenda", the world's largest open initiative foresight initiative, has conducted nine workshops on "the future of philanthropy" in Mumbai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Oxford, London, Washington DC, Quito and Dubai over a period of 12 months. It has summarised the results of these workshops in the publication The Future of Philanthropy: Insights from multiple expert discussions around the world. The authors emphasise that philanthropy has reached a decisive point in this decade and that the three interrelated key thematic factors and drivers of change are power, knowledge and trust. The publication presents the "top 15 future changes" per region and points to interesting differences. Reading "The Future of Philanthropy" should prompt us to consider how these expected international developments will influence the work of foundations in Germany.

How foundation employees see their future

Another study, this one from the USA, has focused on a different perspective. "Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy" (EPIP), a network dedicated to excellence and equity in philanthropy practice, has conducted a survey to assess the extent to which employees of foundations see their own future, that of their organisation and that of the sector as a whole. The title "Dissonance & Disconnects" speaks for itself. The majority of respondents said that they are proud to be active in their institution but only 22 percent see a future for themselves in the institution. The implementation of diversity, justice and inclusion was also judged to be rather minor and the difference between the theoretical goals and lived realities was pointed out. The finding that only 51 percent of those surveyed consider philanthropy to be an effective actor for social change is remarkable. What results would such a study yield in Germany?

The future of philanthropy in uncertain times

If you are looking to gain new inspiration regarding the work of foundations and philanthropy, reviewing topics that have arisen over the past 10 years could be helpful. The Philanthropy Forum of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) has done just that: it has provided an overview of the lectures that have been held since 2009 on the topic "The Future of Philanthropy in Uncertain Times". Among others, Jaqueline Novogratz, founder and managing director of Acumen, was present. Many of you will remember her lively and stimulating talk at the German Foundation Day 2018 and the subsequent discussion with Prof. Dr. Rogall, Chairman of the Board Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH and Chairman of the Federal Association of German Foundations, which was moderated by Filiz Bikmen.

Where will the journey of your work take you in the next few months and years? Take some inspiration from these and other studies and implement them in your own practice! We wish you much success and look forward to meetings and exchanges with you about your experiences.

EZ-Scout Dr. Annette Kleinbrod

EZ-Scout of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) seconded to the Association of German Foundations.

All articles of EZ-Scout Dr. Annette Kleinbrod
Dr. Annette Kleinbrod

EZ-Scout of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) seconded to the Association of German Foundations

Telefon (030) 89 79 47-0

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