Thanks, Alastair

I have just had this lovely email from Alastair James, Senior Consultant at Global Philanthropic. He read my book, ‘How Philanthropy is Changing in Europe’ and wrote:

Dear Chris

I just wanted to say what a wonderful book you have written.

It is a fascinating volume, full of interesting and well-researched material, and I have learned a lot by reading it. You have approached the subject with the rigour of a true academic, but you have written it in a very engaging and accessible style.

I have come away with an overwhelmingly positive impression of philanthropy in Europe from reading your book, although you have also been very clear about the lack of information available in the sector. The fact that foundations are starting to be more open is a very good sign.

I also think that, in the current difficult climate, the book provides a lot of encouraging messages for fundraisers – not least the fact that fundraising has been going on for a long time in Europe, and will, for sure, continue to do so.

My warmest congratulations to you on this superb book.

Best wishes.

Alastair

Alastair James
Senior Consultant
Global Philanthropic
a.j@globalphilanthropic.com

 

Chris Carnie is the author of “How Philanthropy is Changing in Europe”, published by Policy Press. He writes in a personal capacity.

The Future of Philanthropy, in 1 Question

You are at a board meeting of your charity. Board member Jane mentions her friend Peter, and says he might be interested in making a donation. Peter, she says, is the owner of a large software company.

Peter, to be clear, is NOT A CURRENT DONOR. He has not opted in or opted out or opted for anything at your charity.

Back at the office you put Peter’s name into Google. It’s in your legitimate interests to do so, and Peter would expect you to do this.

Turns out that Peter’s business is based in Newcastle.

You are in London, so there is time and travel cost to consider if you are to visit him. You use Companies House to find out about Peter’s shareholding and the company’s profits. These figures help you estimate Peter’s gift capacity. Again, it’s legitimate for a charity to estimate the size of a potential donation before it decides to spend money on a visit to Newcastle.

At an invitation-only event on the 21st of February, the Information Commissioner’s staff will tell charities and the Fundraising Regulator whether or not they can do this search.

The future of philanthropy in the UK hangs on the ICO’s reply to this one question.

Can a prospect researcher do the search outlined above?

If the answer to the question is “No”, then high-value philanthropy in the UK will change dramatically.

It will no longer be possible to use public-domain information to identify or understand potential donors. Charities, universities, museums, hospitals and theatres will have to stop, immediately, all proactive forms of reaching out to new high-value supporters.

How will high-value philanthropists react? They will give less. When charities stop asking, people of wealth will stop giving, or give less and less often.This is not just an assertion – it is demonstrated by research. In “Richer Lives: why rich people give”, Theresa Lloyd and Beth Breeze report that 69% of rich donors give ‘If I am asked by someone I know and respect.’ Charities, from cancer research to the lifeboats, will have to adapt to a dramatic cut in their income.

Some philanthropists will respond by setting up their own foundations. We know from Factary’s New Trust Update that they are already doing this in some numbers. They will manage their own projects via these foundations, meaning less money for mainstream charities.

If the answer to the question is “No”, then the ICO is taking on not just the charity sector, but pretty much every business in the UK. Because every day hundreds of thousands of secretaries, assistants and marketing people do this exact search to check up on potential customers. Can that really be the ICO’s intent?

If the answer is “Yes”, then the ICO is affirming prospect research. We CAN continue to research, understand, and evaluate potential donors and, with permission, actual donors.

We will know the future of philanthropy in the UK on the 21st of February.


Chris Carnie is the author of “How Philanthropy is Changing in Europe”, published by Policy Press. He writes in a personal capacity.

It Will Take a Researcher

It will take a researcher to wake up the fundraising community.

You.

Because it is time to wake up your fundraising colleagues to a new reality in philanthropy. A reality that is working its way through many of your major donors, your trust donors, your finance sector and bank donors, and even your government grants programme.

This is not some insidious virus, although it could eventually cause the extinction of some organisations. Its effects are dramatic on the organisations and people it touches, showing then a new reality, new priorities and a new and different way of reaching their goals.

This is Venture Philanthropy and Social Impact Investment (VP/SI), the subject of last week’s EVPA conference in Paris. The conference confirmed the coming of age of VP/SI, with a mix of leading foundations, banks, philanthropists and a growing band of intermediaries working in the “financial ecosystem” around this mix of investment and philanthropy.

The banks and advisors are very excited by this new market. They like the mixture of social change and financial tools, and they are building teams to help their HNWI and UHNWI clients work in this area; I met a seven-person team from one French bank including account managers, due diligence staff and social investment experts.

Welcome to your newest competitors. They are well-resourced, hungry for new business, have loads of great customer relationship data, and have a dizzyingly good contact book.

Your HNWI and UHNWI donors and prospects, along with trusts and foundations that you work with, are being courted now, by the banks. If your fundraising colleagues are not aware of this trend then maybe it’s time for you to give them a wake-up call.

Doing that could be easier than you think.

Transparency

One of the remarkable (at least in Europe) characteristics of this market is its transparency. I chaired a session on failures in philanthropic investments, and 50 people in the room ‘fessed up to one or other bad decision, and then shared the leanings from their failure.

For prospect researchers the new transparency means that there is an increasing volume of well-researched information on the sector.

Start with the EVPA website, where there are high-quality research reports, and a full list of members (Factary is an Associate Member). Then check the HNWl offerings of banks such as JP Morgan, Credit Suisse or Rabobank. Next take a look at foundations operating in this space. Esmée Fairbain Foundation or Impetus /PEF in the UK, Fondazione CRT and Fondazione Cariplo in Italy, Noaber in the Netherlands… The list is growing, and in Europe alone EVPA has 200 members. In Asia the growth is even faster and EVPA’s sister there, AVPN now has 300 members.

Then look at how organisations, many of them small social change non-profits, have taken up the challenge of working with these demanding but exciting investors. The EVPA website includes case studies and examples. Check out Factary’s reports on the sector.

And finally talk to your colleagues. Tell them that there is a significant new movement in high-value philanthropy. It’s a movement of people who want to invest, not give. Who want to participate, truly participate, in your work; these people do not want a packaged project on a gilt plate. Tell them that in the view of many VPs, traditional fundraising is a costly, inefficient way of winning funds. And tell them that this will take time but that it could transform your organisation and, more importantly, transform the lives of the people you work with.

But do, please, tell them. Because no-one else is. Amongst the 500 delegates at the EVPA conference I counted just three fundraisers. Three! In a hall full of philanthropists.

Your research could help your colleague to be number four. Do it, now.

 

 

Chris Carnie’s latest book – How Philanthropy is Changing in Europe – is to be published in January 2017 by Policy Press: pre-order your copy here!

A Window on Philanthropy in Italy

Another window on high-value philanthropy just opened in Italy thanks to UNHCR and Gruppo Kairos, a private banking and wealth management firm. In March, UNHCR published the results of a survey carried out with the finance firm. I am grateful to Giovanna Li Perni at UNHCR for a copy of the report, and for her presentation of the results at last week’s Festival del Fundraising.

During October-November 2015 Kairos asked its HNWI clients to complete a questionnaire; 91 of them, 44% women, 56% men, did so. This is not therefore a balanced representative sample of people of wealth in Italy (so we cannot safely extrapolate the results) but does give us at least some insight into how this group of people reacted. The group included a wide range of wealth levels from €1m to more than €30m, and a spread of age groups with, as you would expect, a bias toward middle age and older (85% were aged 46 or over). Almost all of the group were donors – 91% had made at least one donation to a social cause in the previous year (against 26% of the general population). The percentage who gave rose with increasing wealth, reaching 100% of people with wealth over €30m.

When asked about their largest gift during 2015 to any one organisation, most reported €5,000, with 73% of women giving at this level and 49% of men. Older people tended to give more, so 22% of the over-65s gave €25,000 and 11% gave €50,000. Of course these people were giving to a number of organisations, so 30% of this older group gave away a total of between €50,000-€100,000 in 2015.

Asked about the causes to which they made their largest gift in 2015, 21% chose scientific or medical research, 19% favoured children’s causes, and 16% poverty in Italy. Importantly for UNHCR, 10% chose help and protection for refugees as their top cause. 62% gave principally to causes in Italy.

Why did they give?

More than half (52%) said that their main reason for giving was because they felt privileged. 26% said it was giving made them feel useful. Interestingly just 4% of donors said that they gave because of their religious values, with 9% saying that they want to change things, to make a difference and the same percentage saying that they gave to continue a family tradition of philanthropy.

In choosing a non-profit, two major reasons stood out; the cause, and ‘transparency of the organisation and exhaustive documentation on results.’ This focus on transparency is interesting and is part of a trend we can see across Europe toward greater transparency in the non-profit sector. New laws (for example, in Holland) and new organisations (for example Fundación Lealtad in Spain) are encouraging this trend toward transparency.

Italians will tell you that business in the country is based on personal connections, and it seems that this might be true for philanthropy also. It is certainly the case for this group of philanthropists, who say that the most common channel for hearing about the organisations they support is via their personal network (28% of respondents, the largest single group), while 15% say that they chose the cause because they knew the leader of the organisation in person.

What does this tell us about strategy?

The information in this report is gathered from the clients of one bank, so we should be careful about extrapolating from it. But given that there is almost nothing else available on HNWI philanthropy in the Italian market, we might at least test some conclusions.

The research should help push up the pricing of ‘major donor’ programmes. Individuals responding to this survey have made gifts in excess of €100,000 to single organisations, and 20% of them have made gifts of €25,000 or more. We can even venture a Gift Capacity calculation for this group, defining ‘Gift Capacity’ as ‘The largest total gift that one person could give to any one cause, in ideal conditions, over five years’ (see my previous blog on this topic.) Five of the respondents with net worth of €5-€10m made gifts to single organisations of €100,000 or more, between 1% and 2% of their net worth.

The research makes the case for prospect research. It shows that personal networks are the means by which these HNWIs have been reached by their non-profit partners, and that these networks are their primary source of information. Prospect research has the tools to identify personal networks. Sadly, the number of prospect researchers in Italy is still in single figures.

This research was carried out in partnership with Gruppo Kairos, and we have here a strategic clue that a number of NGOs in Europe are starting to follow up. Private wealth managers and bankers are increasingly interested in philanthropy, and we would all do well to focus more attention on this key group of intermediaries.

This is the second year in which UNHCR and Kairos have carried out this study, and the plan is to continue the annual series; another opening window on the world of HNWI philanthropy in Europe.

Foundations of Wealth Revisited: A Story of Growing Potential…

For three years Factary produced a ‘Foundations of Wealth’ report focused on the Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) and High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) (minimum estimated wealth of £10m) that founded grant-making trusts and foundations, featured in Factary’s New Trust Update during 2012, 2013 and 2014. We have now revisited these trusts and foundations to see how they are performing financially and what this means for hopeful beneficiaries.

 

These three reports, all available for free to New Trust Update subscribers via the new online archive service, contain profiles of 104 philanthropists and their grant-making trusts and foundations, of which nearly half are not on Trustfunding.org. Top of the list in terms of estimated wealth is Mrs Usha Mittal (£9.2bn) with other billionaires including the Swire family, the Fleming family, Ian Livingstone and Spiro Latsis. Together they have a combined estimated wealth of £34.36bn – the question is, how much of their wealth are they giving to charitable causes?

 

Based on financial information from the last financial year 98 trusts and foundations (six are still yet to submit their first set of accounts to the Charity Commission) had a total expenditure of £26.17m. Only seven had a total expenditure of over £1m in the last financial year whilst over one in 10 had an expenditure of £0 despite some having been registered for three years now. This is somewhat disappointing, especially when compared to their estimated wealth which shows that the average expenditure as a percentage of estimated wealth is a meagre 0.08%! Only seven individuals gave over 1% of their estimated wealth to other organisations in the last financial year, with the most generous person giving just under 3% of their estimated wealth as grants. This is well under the ‘5% of total assets’ figure that is often used as the basis for estimating gift capacity for major donors…

 

The biggest giver in terms of charitable expenditure was Sir Peter Harrison – former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of computer network company Chernikeeff. The Peter Harrison Heritage Foundation had a total expenditure of £4.5m in 2013/14 which included a grant of £2m to the Clarence House Restoration Project and £1.75m to the Imperial War Museum.

 

The most generous philanthropist, giving away the greatest percentage of his estimated wealth as charitable expenditure, was Sir Mick Davis – former Chief Executive Officer of the mining company Xstrata plc from 2001 until its merger with Glencore in 2013. The Davis Foundation had a total expenditure of £2.2m in 2014/15 which equates to 2.95% of his estimated wealth. Grant recipients were not disclosed.

 

Other significant grants awarded by these new philanthropists in the last couple of years include £6m from The Dorothy & Spiro Latsis Benevolent Trust to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and £1m to Boston Children’s Hospital (both in 2013 and hence excluded from this analysis of activity in the last financial year), £2m to the UBS Optimus Foundation by The Holroyd Foundation, £1m to the Royal Shakespeare Company by Lady Sainsbury’s Backstage Trust and £770,125 to  Clinton Health Access Initiative by the Surgo Foundation UK.

 

Notable names that have been less than generous with their charitable giving via their foundations to date include Michael Lemos (son of Greek shipping tycoon Constantinos Lemos) whose CML Family Foundation donated £3,406 which is 0.001% of his estimated wealth of £605m and Richard Higham (Group Chief Executive of Acteon Group Ltd) whose Higham Family Trust had an expenditure of just over £6,000 in 2014/15, which represents 0.004% of his estimated £150m wealth. Some of those whose trusts and foundations have shown no financial activity include former CEO of wealth management company Towry Andrew Fisher, Conservative Party donor and Domino’s Pizza franchise owner Moonpal Singh Grewal and Abhisheck Lodha, Managing Director of global real estate developer Lodha Group.

 

Of course there will be a number of possible reasons why these figures are so low – not all their charitable giving is directed through their foundation; this is not their primary foundation; the nature of their wealth means they do not have high levels of liquid assets; or they are still in the process of building up reserves.

 

It is this last point that is perhaps of most interest when we look at the figures. Whilst the total expenditure was only £26.17m in the last financial year, the total assets of the 79 trusts and foundations for which data was available was over five times this amount at £148.7m. 25 of these have assets in excess of £1m and 10 have assets in excess of £5m. This equates to an average of 0.62% of the philanthropists’ estimated wealth, with 15 building up assets of over 5% of their estimated wealth.

 

The foundation showing the largest asset amount is The Christie Foundation founded by Iain Abrahams, the former Executive Vice Chairman of Barclays Capital. The foundation has assets of over £21m for 2014/15 which represents over 40% of his estimated wealth, making him the also most generous benefactor. So far the only identified donation made by his foundation is of £150,000 to the Elton John Aids Foundation, of which he is also a Trustee.

 

What this shows is the considerable potential these trusts and foundations have for the sector. Whilst they may not yet be giving at a level in keeping with their vast wealth, these UHNWIs and HNWIs are ear-marking significant amounts of their wealth to be given away to charitable causes over the course of their lifetime and beyond, sustaining the charitable sector for years to come.

 

The financial data for these 104 trusts and foundations, along with the three Foundations of Wealth reports and all the past issues of New Trust Update dating back to 2005, is available online to NTU subscribers. If you want further information about New Trust Update and our searchable archive please contact Nicola Williams.

Bring in the New

Q: Where can you find more than 9,000 philanthropists who took the brave and often complicated step of creating a new grant-making charitable trust (a ‘foundation’ in international terminology)?

A: In Factary’s new New Trust Update Archive.

The new NTU Archive is many things. It’s a simple, fast and efficient way to find trusts and foundations in the UK. It’s a great way of finding out about philanthropists, and it is a history of the last ten years of philanthropy in the UK.

Factary began recording the new wave of philanthropy back in 1993, when we noticed that the Charity Commission for England and Wales was experiencing a boom in trust registrations. We discovered that the registration documents for charities – which are in the public domain – contained information that allowed fundraisers to get a clearer idea of what the activities of new trusts, and who was behind them. This was not, at the start, an easy process. We had to take the train to Taunton (where the Charity Commission keeps part of its archive) and request, one by one, the registration documents for these new charities. We then had to go through each document by hand to pick out the charities that looked like they might be, or might become, grant-makers, and start the process of research.

The second part of this process has not varied much over the years – we still carry out detailed research on each trust, contacting trust administrators and aiming to establish who is behind the trust, what their interests are, and what they hope to do.

The Factary team moves fast on that research, and subscribers to New Trust Update (we limit the number of subscribers to 100) rely on us to be the first to hear about new grant-makers.

The result is a rich database of more than 2,500 trusts with interests in arts, rights, women, older people, animals, the environment… the whole range of charitable activity. Users of the NTU Archive can search the entire data set using combinations of codes (for example, ‘Education and Training’) and keywords, to find trusts that were created with those interests.

Users can research trustees by name. There are more than 9,000 trustees listed here, so this is a rich database on individual philanthropy – people who are concerned enough about a social or environmental issues to create a foundation or to join the board of a new foundation. Information on philanthropy in the UK – with the honourable exception of Factary Phi – is hard to find and this data, linking people to their philanthropic interests is invaluable to the non-profit sector.

Factary’s Will Whitefield emphasises that this is a record of the moment that the trust was created. ‘It’s like a birth photo of the trust. When we research the trust it is around a month or two old; so the trustees, objectives and finances are from those early days.’ But that in itself is valuable, because it allows a researcher to see who the baby was, and how it grew up.

There are plenty of examples of this. The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation that we reported in June 2005 topped £4m in income in March 2015, double its spend at start-up. The Schroder Foundation, reported by us in March 2005 and created with a £10 deposit, had grown to £2.2m by April 2015 – that’s 22 million percent growth if you do the maths.

But tracking less spectacular growth is also relevant. For example, a search using the keyword Africa throws up 167 trusts. Pick an early one, such as the Egmont Trust and compare it with the Charity Commission’s current record for the foundation you can see that founding trustees Clare Evans (who had worked with ActionAid in the 1990s) and Jeremy Evans are still in place, but that three others have joined (and two left) over the ten years since we reported its registration in our April 2005 edition.

In here you will find the origins of venture philanthropy and impact investment. The Private Equity Foundation – we reported on it in November 2006 – is in there as is the moment in 2013 when it merged with Impetus to form Impetus Private Equity Foundation. The Apax Foundation – we reported its registration in March 2006 – is there too.

Finally, there is all the great inventiveness of philanthropy here. There are foundations with names based on Beatles’ lyrics (“Love Is All We Need”, registered and reported in 2007), those with hopeful names (“The Making a Difference Foundation,” “Heaven Can Wait” or “The GoodFund”) and foundations from the UK’s vast pool of celebrities, from Gordan Ramsay, chef to the late Dan Maskell, tennis champion.

Factary’s new NTU Archive is an open book on the growth of organised philanthropy in the UK. For more information just get in touch with Nicola Williams.

Still wondering about major donors?

If you had any doubts about “major donor” fundraising – at Factary we use the term “strategic donor” – then today’s article by Martin Wolf should help dispel them (Wolf, M., 2016. The economic losers are in revolt against the elites. Financial Times).

In the article, Wolf reviews the work of Branko Milanovic, previously Lead Economist at the World Bank’s research department, who showed in a 2013 paper (Milanovic, B., 2013. Global Income Inequality by the Numbers: In History and Now. An Overview. Global Policy (May 2013), pp.198–208.) how personal incomes for the majority of people in Europe and the US have stagnated whilst the incomes of the wealthiest 10% have grown. This we knew from other studies of the wealth gap. But what makes this chart so interesting is that there is another group of people whose incomes have stagnated – the poorest 10% globally.

Change in real income between 1988 and 2008 at various percentiles of global income distribution (calculated in 2005 international dollars)

income distribution global

Notes: This is global income, so the middle class in Europe is in the 70%-80% range. The vertical axis shows the percentage change in real income, measured in constant international dollars. The horizontal axis shows the percentile position in the global income distribution. The percentile positions run from 5 to 95, in increments of five, while the top 5% are divided into two groups: the top 1%, and those between 95th and 99th percentiles.

So here is a demand and a supply argument for strategic donor fundraising. On the demand side (of the non-profit world) the poorest of the poor are staying poor or getting poorer. Non-profits have more to do, must raise more to help more.

On the supply side, the “normal” donors (or “consumer donors”) who provide the bulk of donations to Europe’s non-profits are earning the same as they earned in 1998, or less. Perhaps this is part of the reason why regular fundraising has been struggling for so long; middle income donors (in Europe) have been taking home the same wages for the last ten years, so they are unable to increase their gifts, despite the best efforts of fundraising. As Prof Adrian Sargeant never tires of telling us,

‘In the UK, charitable giving is estimated to be around one per cent of gross domestic product and while there are annual variations, this figure has proved remarkably static over time. Despite the best efforts of governments, philanthropists and a generation of fundraisers, the needle hasn’t moved much on giving since data were first recorded.’

(Sargeant, A. & Shang, J., 2011. Growing Philanthropy in the United Kingdom. A Report on the July 2011 Growing Philanthropy Summit, Bristol, UK: University of the West of England. Available here.)

But up there among the elites the picture is very different. The top ten percent of earners enjoyed real-term income growth over the period 1998-2008 with the top 1% winning increases of 60% on average, world-wide. Yes, the subsequent recession may have taken a little off the top of that, but as the annual European wealth lists show us, wealth has survived the recession in remarkably good shape.

So at both ends of our work as fundraisers there is a case for strategic donors; at the poorest end where we have to do more and more for people with less and less, and at the wealthiest end where we can see a significant segment of the population heading up the income ladder.

Time to chase after your well researched prospect pool…with a strong, well-researched, case statement.

Which leaves me – and many fundraisers – in the ethical soup. I joined fundraising as a means to an end – the end of social inequalities, of poverty, of human suffering. So while I celebrate the growth of the strategic philanthropy market…I disapprove of the system that makes a few rich and leaves the rest poor.

Difficult dilemma.

But there is a lot of potentially philanthropic money out there, and a lot more people who need it; so stop wondering about major donors and get on with it.

The Laboratory for Philanthropy

I am just back from the annual European Venture Philanthropy Association conference, this year in Madrid. I have attended most of the organisation’s fifteen conferences – because venture philanthropy is at the cutting edge of all of Europe’s philanthropy.

The conference is increasingly focused on impact investing. This phrase has as many interpretations as there are official languages in the EU – but it covers the broad range, from grants, to projects that can demonstrate social impact, to for-profit investments in social enterprises that deliver near-market rates of return. There were a mixture of social enterprises, charities and foundations pitching for business at the event, but all of them were able to show precisely what return – social or financial or both – they could offer. More, to be blunt, than many of our largest charities can manage.

Scale is a central theme. This word is used to mean “growth” as in: ‘We’ve got a great idea – how can we scale it up?’ It is the obsession of my friend Miquel de Paladella who announced a successful second round of investment – €430,000 – to expand the JumpMath franchise in Spain. Visit their website (in English) and you’ll see that their impact indicators are on the front page. This display of impact is not the only reason for their success, but it is central to explaining why they raised finance.

Crowdfunding was popular at the conference. It’s growing fast in all its varied flavours, from crowdfunding for equity through crowdfunding for loans. Factary’s former landlord, Jamie Hartzell of Ethex, gave a concise description of the ethical issues that surround this type of finance. The first social stock exchange in Spain, La Bolsa Social presented its crowdfunded equity programme, and we also heard from Babyloan (yes, that is its real name) in France. Babyloan has tied up with Total, the French energy company, to crowdfund microfinance for green energy projects there.

We discussed the role of foundations and trusts in all this. BMW Foundation described their work in professionalising ‘pro bono’ support for non-profits, working with their alumni and staff. Seb Elsworth of Access Capital described the blend of loans and capacity building that they are planning to offer smaller organisations in the UK, some via Community Foundations. And Arnaud Gillin of Innpact in Luxembourg described the Shell Foundation’s involvement in creating loan structures to support small, growing enterprises through GroFin; it looked complicated but in essence it involves the foundation providing a grant to a lending entity to encourage other investors to join a structured, layered, lending scheme. If the loans fail, the grant money takes the burden of failure, giving lenders higher up the tree greater security. Innpact demonstrated that a grant-maker could multiply by at least four, and sometimes up to 20, the impact of a grant by working in this way.

How can we use all this? In past blogs about EVPA I have emphasised the need to keep an eye on what is happening. Now it’s time to move from watching, to action. Take a look at the extraordinary growth of crowdfunding for example. Robert Wardrop, a Research Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance showed figures from their 2015 report that indicate a 104% increase in donation-based crowdfunding 2012-2014 in Europe excluding the UK. Reward-based crowdfunding is growing even faster at 127%. There are opportunities for fundraisers here.

Or take the new financial models for foundations – could your organisation structure an entity to offer loans to, say, small farmers, using the expertise you already have and a few of your foundation partners?

And finally, one cheering fact. Despite concerns that we have expressed before (see our report Trust Women for example) about the lack of women in senior positions in European philanthropy, this year’s conference had a majority of women present; 51% of participants were women. A strong message for the future.

The EVPA conference is the bubbling laboratory for philanthropy in Europe. It is where you will meet new people with new ideas – some scary, some brilliant – and see where the mainstream will be, five years later.

Next year’s conference is in Paris. See you there?

Trust Women

Why so few women in UK foundations?

We’ve analysed all of the newly created grant-making trusts (foundations) registered in England and Wales since 2005 – a data set of 2,312 new grant-makers. Our findings are in a new Factary report, ‘Trust Women’, available for download here.

Key Findings:

  • Boards are not balanced – on average there is just one woman per board across all of these trusts.
  • Almost one third (29.7%) had all-men boards when they were registered.
  • Just one trust in five has women in the majority on boards.
  • And we found some evidence that trusts with women in the majority were poorer at start-up than those with men-majority boards.

Our report is based on Factary’s New Trust Update dataset (http://factary.com/what-we-do/new-trust-update/ ).

To find out more about this data, contact research@factary.com

Download ‘Trust Women’ here.

Milan x 2

I have been to Milan twice this month. This is not just because I am a lover of Italy’s food, fashion and people (I am) but because both the Festival del Fundraising and the European Foundation Centre Conference were held in, or near, Milan.

This was like a Barcelona-Real Madrid match, with each team playing solo, two weeks apart. Two of the most significant stakeholder groups in the non-profit sector, the fundraisers and the philanthropists, each with their own view of how to change the world.

Amongst the differences there were common themes. Both sectors are growing. This year’s Festival del Fundraising was the largest ever, and the EFC Conference was a sell-out too. The rate of foundation growth is astonishing – two new German foundations are created each day, and we know from Factary’s New Trust Update that 214 new grant-makers were registered in 2014 in the UK. The same growth story emerged at EFC from all over Europe.

Both foundations and fundraisers are becoming more professional. Foundation staff are training at centres such as the Erasmus Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, while fundraisers are going to back to school at universities across the continent, including Italy’s University of Bologna, and the course I teach on, the Postgraduate Certificate in Fundraising at the University of Barcelona.

While both teams are training, there is a remarkable demographic similarity between them. Women lead both teams. The population at the Festival, and at EFC reflected this, whether we were talking about the all-women fundraising team at Save the Children in Rome or the Chair and key staff of Turkey’s Vehbi Koç Foundation. The future of our increasingly interconnected sector will be shaped by women.

Both conferences dealt with social change, in slightly different ways. At the Festival we heard about social change brought about by donations through non-profits. At the EFC we heard about social change through collaboration. Yes, collaboration. Not grant-making, or at least not centrally grant-making. An excellent workshop led by Nicky McIntyre of Mama Cash showed how Oak Foundation was focusing on changing the situation of women by collaborating with companies. Katharina Samara-Wickram from Oak Foundation described the organisation’s evolving Theory of Change. The foundation had initially focused all its women’s rights efforts on women’s rights organisations. But it had also commissioned research, from AWID amongst others, and had discovered that it might get more rights for its dollar (or Swiss Franc) if it instead worked on the millions of companies employing hundreds of millions of women around the globe. As a result Oak has developed an 8-point Business Case for women’s rights aimed at employers and using them as the vehicle for winning rights for women. This was one example amongst many of collaborations between foundations, NGOs and business to effect change in society.

I discussed this with a team from a leading UN organisation. The implications for fundraising are important, with the role of the fundraiser changing from being simply a grant-chaser to becoming the central relationship point for a complex web linking her own organisation with foundations, companies and other stakeholder groups.

The significant divergence between the two conferences came when we talked about investment. Fundraising team leaders in Italy complained about a lack of investment. Salaries in the sector are still modest and few organisations are willing to take the brave step of dramatically increasing investment in fundraising. By contrast the foundation sector spent a lot of time on investment, and appears to be ready to take on risk, so long as it has a social end. Thus the Italian majors, Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione CRT both have programmes for investing their endowment in activities with a social as well as a financial purpose. There was some talk of divestment – with foundations encouraged to divest from the fossil fuel industry. But the bigger theme was Mission Related Investment. This was talked about across the EFC conference, with foundations making substantial investments in the social housing sector, and as venture philanthropy in social enterprises. Mission Related Investment opens up a substantial new line of funding for social purpose organisations – another challenge for traditional fundraising teams in Europe.

With only a little hindsight, both conferences felt like a revolution. Just ten years ago the Italian fundraising sector was tiny – a handful of visionaries in a few risk-ready organisations. At that time most European foundations were a closed shop – few published an annual report or had a website or could be induced to talk about their work. Their boards and management were older and dominated by men. Since then we have had a wave of transparency legislation running across Europe accompanied by a push for the same by the EFC itself – so now we can see what’s happening in foundations in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Spain (ironically, Italy remains somewhere behind the pack on transparency.) The feeling that a revolution is taking place in the sector ran through both conferences.

It is great to be living in revolutionary times.