Transforming philanthropy means transforming the institutions that practice it. What does this mean for their attitudes and their day-to-day work?
Philanthropy needs to change – this seems to be the common denominator in current debates and in this special feature of Alliance magazine. But what does it really mean for large or small philanthropic organisations to embrace a culture of trust, participation and/or inclusion? This organisational shift is a leadership and management task and presents dilemmas since it raises questions around power and culture within the organisation. Based on our – selective – experiences as managers and advisors in the field and a series of qualitative interviews over the course of the second half of 2022 we try to answer some of these questions.
Let’s go straight to the point, transformation is possible and it’s done by a few, but let’s not minimise the fact that it’s a matter of making a fundamental change in mindset and in the way of conceiving the symbolic, political and social role of philanthropy.
Beyond the important strategic questions of what we are trying to accomplish and why, the questions raised by this change are: who do we serve, to whom are we indebted, to whom do we belong? It’s also about the belief that reciprocity, trust and power-sharing will lead to better results.
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