Giving Compass' Take:

• Anne-Laure Paquot, writing for Alliance, reflects on her time at the ERNOP conference, where she heard grantmakers from Europe and the U.S. share insights on the philanthropy community. 

• How can information-sharing strengthen the philanthropic sector? What potential partnership opportunities are there for international philanthropy? 

• Check out this framework for impactful philanthropy. 


Last week, I was fortunate to participate to the 2019 ERNOP Conference. Entitled ‘Philanthropy in the spotlight’, the event set out to explore the achievements, impacts and limitations of present-day philanthropy and its future developments. As I read through the diverse program and tried (with difficulty) to narrow down the few parallel sessions I would be able to attend among the vast selection of topics presented, I remember thinking that I was in for an exciting experience. I could not have been more right.

It started on Wednesday with a pre-conference on cross-border philanthropy. Already the tone and ambience of the three days to come were set: panellists and spectators gathered that day had travelled from Europe and abroad with the intent to study, debate and bring philanthropy across borders.

On Thursday, keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Rob Reich of Stanford University called on the assembly gathered to re-imagine a healthier relationship between grant-making organizations and their grantees. To bridge the divide created by the language of effectiveness, concepts of ‘right of failure’, ‘risk-taking’, and ‘experimental approach’ were emphasized. Power, Pr. Reich declared, must be put back into the hands of beneficiaries. These reflections were echoed during the presentation given by Lynda Mansson, Director General of the sunset foundation MAVA.

The key to building deeper collaborative relationships with beneficiaries is to listen to the needs and experience of those working on the front line. To ‘give right’, grant-makers should bring the organizations they support to the table as key partners and valorise the knowledge acquired on the ground.

Knowledge sharing was most certainly at the heart of the ERNOP conference and pre-conference, thus providing an open space for dialogue. As academics presented their latest research, session participants eagerly took part in the follow-up discussions. Fellow researchers questioned, challenged and suggested further lines of study and limitations to beware of.

Read the full article about philanthropy community by Anne-Laure Paquot at Alliance.