WINGS: The quest for evidence of impact

Assessing the impact of infrastructure organizations is important. It is necessary to show how infrastructure support is affecting practice in different countries – how it influences legislation, funding, and other aspects of the enabling environment within which philanthropy and civil society can operate effectively.

To demonstrate the value of philanthropy infrastructure, evidence of real world impact is needed. To begin this assessment, the WINGS report, Infrastructure in Focus: A global picture of organizations serving philanthropy, identified some of the main benefits of support organizations:

  • Capacity – building resources
  • Capability – building skills and knowledge
  • Connection – building relationships
  • Credentials – building recognition and influence for the sector.

These 4Cs are the starting steps for a framework to assess the value of infrastructure organizations. To kick off this process, WINGS and DAFNE organized a peer-learning event in Madrid in July, hosted by the Spanish Association of Foundations and Fundación Botín. A group of 15 member organizations from 13 countries attended the event and demonstrated interest in developing an assessment framework. This 18-month project involves consultations with members, as well as online and face-to-face meetings.

‘This meeting gave me the chance to focus on and delve into something I have been interested in for a while – primarily developing a Theory of Change – both for my specific area of work and potentially for us as an organization,’ says Esther Thompson, Association for Charitable Foundations. Developing a framework for support, she says ‘would enable us to work together globally on something’.

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