Last July, Beyond Philanthropy, the for-profit affiliate of Berlin-based Active Philanthropy, and the Swiss philanthropy consultancy Social Investors Partners signed a cooperation agreement. Patrick Frick of Social Investors Partners talked at the time of ‘a new model for the charitable sector’ which would increase its effectiveness. Six months on, Caroline Hartnell talked to Patrick Frick and Felicitas von Peter of Active Philanthropy about what the partnership brings them and why they think strategic partnerships are the way ahead.
The cooperation extends the reach and capacity of both. The bulk of Beyond Philanthropy’s work, explains von Peter, has been in Germany, but they have worked across Europe and elsewhere. ‘What we haven’t had, and Social Investors has, is staff on the ground. It has two partners who travel to Africa, Latin America and Asia, which helps both with due diligence and with project management. For Frick, the main advantage is that there was no advisory firm capable of offering advice on a wide range of thematic and geographic areas. In the independent advisory market in continental Europe, ‘you have mainly individuals or very small teams’. Both he and von Peter see a need to provide for philanthropist clients with large-scale contracts or mandates that so far no one in Europe has been equipped to deal with.
‘It just seems a good combination’
Moreover, the partnership brings together a team who between them have strong networks and a wide range of skills, including language skills, expertise in facilitation, long experience working for UN organizations, a strong background in family philanthropy, experience working in a strategic advisory capacity on the board of a large foundation, and von Peter’s own seven or eight years’ history of building a peer-to-peer networking and exchange and experiential learning. ‘It just seems a good combination,’ she says.