Philanthropy Associations and Networks Agree to Collaborate in Facing Common Challenges
Filantropi Indonesia participated in a workshop meeting entitled "Driving Philanthropy for the Future: Creating the Networks We Need" in Kingston, Jamaica, on 23-26 April 2019. Participants of the meeting were philanthropy associations and networks who are members of the Worldwide Initiative for Grantmakers Support (WINGS), a global network of organizations that provide support for the development of philanthropy (philanthropy support organization or PSO). Secretary of the Board of Management FI Suzanty Sitorus represented FI at the meeting.
The meeting in Jamaica discussed the latest developments and challenges faced by philanthropy associations and networks. On the one hand, as part of PSO, associations and networks play two important roles namely creating a friendly environment for philanthropy and civil society and supporting capacity building for philanthropy organizations. Many associations play both roles, because of the members’ needs and also as a consequence of lacking organizations providing PSO functions. On the other hand, the role of association/network has not been well understood by funders, philanthropic activists and the general public. Participants representing associations and networks acknowledged that they often felt alone in their work.
At the end of the meeting, the workshop drew up several conclusions including the followings:
- The workshop succeeded in building a strong sense of solidarity among philanthropy associations and networks, and the commitment to continue communication and collaboration in order to strengthen the philanthropic development environment throughout the world. In addition, the participants agreed on the importance of enhanced communication efforts and building new narratives to deepen and expand support from stakeholders, especially philanthropic institutions and funders.
- Practical/technical issues in serving the needs of members and existential problems originating from the environment that threaten the development of philanthropy will continue to be faced by PSOs. Therefore, mapping at the national level is needed to understand how far the needs have been met by existing PSOs.
- Most associations began with a mission to provide services to its members, for example to increase capacity and develop networks. A small number of associations have shifted to become ‘a thought leader’—a leading organization that promotes philanthropy agenda. Both functions are needed. But the extent to which an association/network carries out one or both of them is largely determined by the environment in which they operate – which affects the types of members' needs – and the availability of resources. In his workshop opening address, WINGS Executive Director Benjamin Bellegy said one of the trends that need to be followed by philanthropy associations is the transition to an organization with a thought leader model. The transition (or addition) of this function is important to help the philanthropy community navigate and anticipate changes or even initiate change.
- To help PSOs measure the impact of its existence, WINGS launched the 4Cs Framework with which the impact is measured based on the following four dimensions:
- Capacity: the extent to which PSO supports other philanthropy organizations achieving sustainability, especially from the financial side;
- Capability: the extent to which PSO supports the improvement of knowledge and skills of members in carrying out philanthropic work;
- Connection (extent): the extent to which PSO supports the development of networks and partnerships among fellow philanthropic organizations and between philanthropy community and other stakeholders;
- Credibility: the extent to which PSO supports the increase in credibility of philanthropy institutions in the eyes of the general public, government and funders.
The 4Cs framework can be applied flexibly and can be modified (especially the indicators) according to the conditions in each association/network. The 4 Cs Framework guideline can be downloaded here.
The Jamaica meeting also discussed Vision 2025 of philanthropy associations/network. Most participants believe that good philanthropy associations are inclusive, embrace diversity and deal with philanthropic issues at a more strategic level. Some argue that philanthropy associations need to be more courageous and step up to address sensitive/controversial issues that are faced by society. All agree that philanthropy associations/networks need to enhance readiness to deal with various changes due to the hybridity of models, in terms of organizational form, governance, business models, and so on. However, not all associations should cover everything. Associations that focus and deliver on specific dimensions of philanthropy, can also make a useful contribution.