Philanthropy the Catalyst for Broader Social Change - Report
17 December 2013 at 10:16 am
Australia’s Not for Profit organisations need to better collaborate with strategic partners, the corporate sector and government to tap into the full potential of philanthropy in fostering social change, according to a new report by The Trust Company.
Produced in partnership with the Melbourne Business School, Engaged Philanthropy in Practice – Building Momentum, explores the impact produced by NFP grantees since the Trust Company launched its Engaged Philanthropy grant model in 2011.
The Trust Company distributes $3.5 million from its portfolio of 17 discretionary charitable trusts to select Australian charities in the areas of socially inclusive education, positive ageing, living with disability, and social sector enterprise, capacity building and innovation.
Charities involved in the program include The National Stroke Foundation and The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.
The Trust Company’s Head of Philanthropy & Community, Simon Lewis, said the focus for the program is building a framework through the Theory of Change approach, which enhances the strategic impact of grants made by benefactors through The Trust Company as trustee,” he said.
“Unlike the traditional philanthropy model, the pool of resources available to strategic partners in this program is not limited to monetary grants – it invests in the capacity, skills development and strategic rigour within the organisation.
“It’s about creating the right structure to facilitate positive change and create accountability in the system.”
Melbourne Business School’s Asia Pacific Social Impact Leadership Centre’s Trust Company Fellow, Liz Gillies, believes the Engaged Philanthropy platform sits on the strategic end of the gift giving spectrum and goes a step further by providing multi-year grants and support.
“Accountability of social impact has never been more important. This report highlights the fact philanthropy is an important catalyst, and it’s critical that NFPs collaborate with all sectors in bringing about positive, sustainable social outcomes,” she said.
“In my experience, all those working in philanthropy desire to do good. However there is an opportunity for more to interrogate their practice and genuinely partner with others to develop a platform which, focused on accountability and outcomes, seeks to maximise impact.
“This is relevant not only in terms of identifying and clarifying the aspirations of fund recipients but most importantly, raising the bar with regards to the roles and contributions that philanthropy can and should make in supporting these endeavours.”
The report warned said that partnership was one of the mantras of the social impact agenda and yet there was little in depth understanding of the skill set required to broker effective partnerships.
“Partnering has become a catch-all for everything; when further analysis indicates that the vast majority of partnerships should be more appropriately characterised as transactions, contracts or sponsorships,” the report said.
“Collective Impact requires a more nuanced and deeper relationship which is focused on equity, transparency and a clear delineation of mutual benefit.”
Effective partnerships focus and resource three distinct phases in the partnership cycle:
• Creating: Design a partnership framework that clarifies what the partnership is about and how partners will work together, resulting in a common agreement to move forward;
• Developing: Creating an action plan for the partnership setting out the direction and tasks required to achieve the partnership objectives (as operational or implementation plan);
• Sustaining: Processes need to be implemented to ensure that the partnership reaches its full potential and delivers the expected overall outcome.
A copy of Engaged Philanthropy in Practice at The Trust Company – Building Momentum can be accessed here.