September 2014

Talent for philanthropy

Volume 19 , Number 3

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September 2014

Talent for philanthropy

Volume 19 , Number 3

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The people in the philanthropy sector are its most important assets – operations staff, programme staff and leaders. Do we think enough about what sort of people the sector needs? And do we do enough to attract and retain them? This special feature lays out some of the latest thinking on ‘talent management’ within philanthropy. Guest editors are Samantha Gilbert of the Rockefeller Foundation, independent global philanthropy professional John Harvey, and Wangsheng Li of the Ze Shan Foundation (China).

The special feature includes an article by Pier Mario Vello considering what the private sector can teach us about people as an institutional asset; an article looking at the kind of people foundations need – generalists or specialists? permanent staff or consultants? people from outside the sector or from within? – based on email interviews with philanthropy leaders and experts from around the world; the EFC’s Andrea Salvadori on the role of philanthropic support organizations in promoting foundation staff development; Chris Grygo and Rose Maruru exploring some of the challenges facing employee engagement at foundations today and what foundation leaders can do to help address them; Michael Liffman on the state of professional development within philanthropy; Oksana Oracheva on the foundation profession and salaries in Russia; and an interview with Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin, talking about her experience in moving from a large academic institution into philanthropy, how this has affected her attitude to hiring staff, and her mentoring of Rockefeller staff.

The September issue of Alliance also includes Epaminondas Farmakis on the challenges facing philanthropy in Greece; Jo Andrews on the unacknowledged dangers of transparency; and Diana Leat on why foundations sometimes create new organizations.


Special feature

People: philanthropy’s great strength

1 September 2014
Samantha Gilbert, John Harvey and Wangsheng Li

Pick up any edition of Alliance from the past few years, and one message is clear. In truly unprecedented ways, the global philanthropy sector is on the move, popping up in new places, growing in scale, diversifying in form, and, more than ever before, stretching to tackle the momentous challenges that define our times such as climate change, food and water security, and immigration. While there is much talk of the financial resources needed for …


People matter – it’s common sense

As a long-time philanthropy watcher, I would say ‘talent management’ is something I have thought about only very occasionally over the years, probably when new presidents/CEOs are appointed at big foundations. The appointment of Judith Rodin as president of the Rockefeller Foundation in 2005 and of Luis Ubiñas as president of the Ford Foundation a couple of years later gave rise to much debate about the merits of drawing foundation leaders from outside the field, in this case from academia and from McKinsey. In 2013 the appointment of Darren Walker as Ford Foundation president and La June Montgomery Tabron at Kellogg …


Cooperation not competition

Digbijoy Shukla

 The analysis of Monitor Deloitte’s Beyond the Pioneer report in the June issue of Alliance highlights an interesting debate. The …

Charities’ experience of social investment positive so far

Geetha Rabindrakumar

 The ethical questions around charities’ use of social investment posed by Martin Brookes (‘Should there be limits to the realm …

What about non-profits’ behaviour?

Timothy Ogden

 There are indeed many questions about how the mingling of investment and charity will affect the behaviour of donors, as …

Responses to Mari Kuraishi’s ‘From crowdfunding to crowdsourcing’

Phillip Henderson

‘Crowdfunding favours urgent and tangible needs such as disaster relief, or heart surgery for a specific individual. It is not …

Donors shooting for the seemingly impossible

Ingrid Srinath

 I was reminded of this article as I watched the remarkable fundraising drive for MAYDAY surge past US$5 million on …

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