Giving Compass' Take:

• This United Philanthropy Forum post explores the ways philanthropy support organizations (PSOs) can encourage or challenge current practices and concepts in the sector.

• The takeaway here is to go beyond service delivery. How might PSOs help us rethink the way we develop assessment tools and strategize for maximum impact?

• Here are five tips for your year-end impact assessment.

This year’s United Philanthropy Forum conference generated positive echoes that have spread beyond borders, establishing it as an exceptional peer-learning opportunity for organizations serving philanthropy in the US. The conference was also a source of global inspiration and call for infrastructure organizations to play a more proactive public role. It is time for philanthropy support organizations to engage with their constituencies around the critical social issues facing the philanthropic sector.

This was also the vision behind the last WINGS Forum in Mexico City, where we explored multiple dimensions of what we called “Critical Philanthropy” — how philanthropy support organizations (PSOs) are poised to play a critical role within the philanthropic sector, encouraging or challenging current practices and concepts. At the same time, how can philanthropy actors become more self-critical in order to avoid contributing to the problems they are trying to address and improve. Finally, how can PSOs play a thought leadership role in engaging donors and foundations to address the critical social issues of the day, look for root-causes and follow a systems-change approach.

This confluence of interests at both meetings illustrates that the role of the philanthropy support ecosystem, or infrastructure, goes well beyond service delivery. While by definition it helps build the sector, at times it must also deconstruct and disrupt accepted practices

Read the full article about strengthening the philanthropy support ecosystem by Benjamin Bellegy at United Philanthropy Forum.