December 2012

Networks and philanthropy

Volume 17 , Number 4

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December 2012

Networks and philanthropy

Volume 17 , Number 4

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‘Networks’ have been much talked about over the past decade, but how much does the philanthropy world really understand about them and how to make the most of them? Guest editors Harald Katzmair and Chet Tchozewski consider what constitutes a network and why philanthropists should care about them. Two eminent thinkers from the field of ecological research, Buzz Holling and Robert Ulanowicz, suggest that we could learn from processes in the natural world, while physicist Geoffrey West draws parallels with the dynamics of social organizations such as cities.

As part of this special feature, Alliance convened a global virtual roundtable to discuss the role of membership associations; Don Tapscott writes about how the internet has changed the way NGOs and philanthropists build relationships; Beth Kanter suggests a job description for the role of chief networking officer; and Lori Bartczak and Diana Scearce consider whether philanthropy can be both networked and strategic. In addition, several articles use real-life examples from around the world to show the power of networks.

The December issue of Alliance also brings together a group of funders, grantees and others as the CEE Trust prepares to wind down to consider whether it has fulfilled its goals and what its legacy will be. Two separate articles look at the vexed question of how foundations can be legitimate actors in influencing public policy and creating social change. Plus further interviews, opinion columns, articles, reviews, conference reports and global updates.

Special feature

Networks, money and meaning

1 December 2012
Harald Katzmair and Chet Tchozewski

Networks have been the buzzword of the last decade. But what do networks really mean for philanthropic work and what can philanthropists do for networks? Where does their promise lie? What sort of investment is required to utilize the ‘power of networks’? The problems confronting us are getting graver by the day and the opportunity costs of where we put our money are increasing. Network scientists in the fields of sociology, computer science, physics, biology …


The power of networks

As I read each article that came in for the special feature, I became more aware that engaging in, and supporting, networks involves a very specific way of relating to others – and one that may not come easily to many foundations. ‘Working with a network mindset can feel at odds with “strategic” philanthropy – characterized by a sharp focus, predetermined measurable outcomes, and a clear path to progress,’ say Lori Bartczak and Diana Scearce. Working with a network mindset, they say, means funding with a clear intent but in a way that is ‘long-term and loosely controlled’; the outcomes …


European foundations missing the boat on data

Lester Salamon

The special feature on the importance of data for the world’s philanthropic community in Alliance’s September 2012 issue comes none …

Slow to jump on the data bandwagon?

Florence Miller

We were delighted to see Alliance’s dedication to data in the last issue. At the UK-based Environmental Funders Network (EFN), …

Who are the real risk takers?

Carolyn Hayman

Recent articles in Alliance, including Adrian Sargeant and Rob Garris’s  ‘Balancing risk and opportunity’ in the September issue, raise the …

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