I just came back from three days in Madrid, attending PEXForum 2020. I feel these three days were well spent and worthy to leave the office in a very busy period at the beginning of the year.
As PEXForum 2020 marks the very first European event that brings together philanthropic institutions at European level along with academics and researchers in the field, I can say I felt lucky to have the chance to be part of this group and participate in rich and thought provoking discussions. The design and facilitation of the forum, along with the venues set up (hubs) where it took place reflected in an excellent way the purpose and togetherness in developing a road map for joint actions with regard to the future of philanthropy in Europe.
Representing a local support organisation in a small country like Albania, PEXForum 2020 provided the perfect space on one side to learn and exchange and on the other side a platform to join forces with organisations and experts in the field of philanthropy to further advance its ecosystem.
I was very much impressed by the genuine effort of this community of actors to take a critical look at their own work and performance. The discussions were like a wakeup call for what needs to change and improve in order to effectively respond to fast transformations in our societies along with the necessity of a paradigm shift in how philanthropic institutions interact, connect, communicate and provide support.
The discussion was built around three main topics:
- Data gathering and analysis as the most informed way to understand trends and challenges of philanthropy, and measure the impact achieved. Wide and diverse data available at individual institutional level was considered an irreplaceable base to build a convincing case for philanthropy impact and at the same time an instrument leading to more transparency among actors in the field.
- Communication as a tool in reaching our audience, and securing broad support as the way to fight scepticism and ensure legitimacy of philanthropic actors. Story telling was discussed as the base and thread of the communication strategy, illustrated with inspirational cases at European level.
- Advocacy to address shrinking space due to unfavourable policies coming from joint forces within the ecosystem. At the end, solidarity communicated in an effective way, powered with the human touch will help the advocacy effort.
The most remarkable thing for me was to see the high level of engagement from all participants in these discussions and the opportunity to conclude the forum with concrete plans and working groups to start working immediately on them. As I write these lines the work has already started and I cannot wait to contribute in putting all these plans in motion. They have opened new windows of opportunities to reform our work started at institutional and country level and then European level. For me the Forum resembled in the best way the slogan ‘Live globally, act locally’.
Juliana Hoxha is Director at Partners Albania for Change and Development