In addition to the degree of personal satisfaction involved, what donors wish for, above all is for their engagement to be useful and of service to the beneficiaries. In other words, they would like to see positive, sustainable results to their giving. Various stages are required to ensure the desired impact, such as identifying the appropriate partner, defining a precise objective and the means of action. Here are some key elements:
- Selecting an organisation in a proactive way, then defining a project : a good organisation may have good and bad projects - the opposite is rarely the case. It is important to take time to understand who your partner is, then to define a project together, so as to be able to build a long-term relationship and to carry the project through to its realisation, in mutual respect.
- Planning a philanthropic engagement over several years : it can take time to make an impact on beneficiaries and an annual donation is too limited a process to make it possible to notice any changes. Making a commitment to give over a period of 3 to 5 years and linking this to the attaining of clear objectives allows a partner to make more long-term forecasts and promotes successful collaboration.
- Foreseeing an exit strategy : It is important to foresee the end of a collaboration cycle right from the outset so as to ensure the sustainability of the action and the donor's independence.
- Light touch engagement : An efficient collaboration and mutual trust calls for a good balance between the donor's requirements and the management of the beneficiary's time by using precise tools to promote a professional support infrastructure and avoid top heavy bureaucracy. This requires a constructive, open dialogue.
- Philanthropy’s New Agenda: Creating Value,
Michael E. Porter et Mark R. Kramer, Harvard Business Review, November-December 1999.
Improving the performance of philanthropy would enable foundations to have a much greater impact on society. Foundations could play a leading role in changing the culture of social sector management. They could spearhead the evolution of philanthropy from private acts of conscience into a professional field.
- Venture Philanthropy: the Evolution of High Engagement Philanthropy in Europe,
Rob John, Oxford Said Business School, 2006.
A reflection on the development of venture philanthropy in Europe including both a contextual approach and case studies.