June 2022

Learning from failure

Volume 27 , Number 2

PDF - £10.00 Hard copy (£15.00)


June 2022

Learning from failure

Volume 27 , Number 2

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Philanthropy naturally wants to be defined by its achievements. But those achievements will be much more modest if it does not learn from its failures.

The special feature in this issue of Alliance explores what it takes to learn from failure with people and organisations who have set out to change not only their practice but also their outlook. Guest edited by Donika Dimovska, Chief Knowledge Officer, the Jacobs Foundation, Switzerland.

The issue also includes an interview with the man who has personified European philanthropy for over 25 years – King Baudouin Foundation’s recently departed director, Luc Tayart de Broms.

Special feature

Is philanthropy finally ready to embrace intelligent failure?

31 May 2022
Donika Dimovska

Owning and learning from failure is a thing most foundations still seem eager to put off. Many of the reasons for this are evident, but three main obstacles prevent them from seeing learning from their failures as a science rather than an art If we are not making mistakes, we are not trying hard enough, the refrain goes. While this seems to be a common mantra in business, at least for some companies, it is …


My decade of faliure

Everyone has their own experience of professional failure – each in their own way. Mine was at the end of 2012 when I said goodbye to my colleagues at the Pears Foundation for the last time. I had good reason to feel a sense of accomplishment. The organisation I led went from standing start to leading foundation during my decade-long tenure working alongside Trevor Pears, one of the UK’s most decent and committed philanthropists. But despite good wishes and heartfelt congratulations, and even a very special book I received with generous messages, my work never felt like a success. Instead, …


Questions for Bridgespan

Ise Bosch For Subscribers

I’ve just caught up with the interview with Jeff Bradach of The Bridgespan Group (Alliance, December 2021). It was very …

Does philanthropy have a mental health problem?

Amy Cunningham For Subscribers

To mark the publication of our March 2022 special feature on mental health philanthropy, Alliance hosted an event in partnership …

Help! What should I do about a flakey fundraiser?

Veritas For Subscribers

Dear Veritas, Our small US-based nonprofit serving poor families in the Global South recently hired a fundraiser. He charged $25,000 …

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