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Navigating Partnerships: Unveiling the Importance of the Legal and Operating Environments of Philanthropy

Have you ever wondered why philanthropic organisations ask many questions?

I've found that insights from Philea's insightful report, "Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws: The Operating Environment for Foundations in Europe 2021" shed light on this matter. The report which meticulously analyzes the legal and regulatory environments of foundations across 40 European countries showed that there is a common practice among numerous European foundations to hire external auditors and publish their activity reports, partly because of the legal and regulatory environments they operate in.

Drawing from experience, I vividly recall an unexpected turn in my attempt to build a dialogue with a London-based foundation on the day of President Trump's election in 2016. The meeting transformed into a series of questions about the financial accounts of the non-profit organization I was representing. Initially assuming the need to address the Executive's frustration about the election results, I learned the valuable lesson that the ability to explain the financials of a non-profit organization is essential when forging a partnerships.

Yet, focusing solely on understanding every part of the accounts sheet does not entirely contribute to the transparency foundations seek before entering a partnership with a non-profit. Through my conversations with numerous foundations aiming for impactful change, I observed that they explore several dimensions to understand the inner workings of the non-profit organization. I value the six pillars of a resilient charity as outlined in the CAF Resilience Programme: "Purpose, Awareness, Effective Leadership, Networks and Partnerships, Finance and Operations, and Impact." I emphasize the importance of these six pillars, along with the operational and legal landscapes of foundations, trusts, and non-profits, in the workshops I deliver.

While financial resilience continues to receive more attention from both foundations and non-profits, the latter should also consider looking at the accounts of their prospective grant maker to gauge their stability and long-term partnership potential.

What story do your accounts tell about your organization? How do you demonstrate that your organization is transparent and resilient? Why is this important to know before embarking on partnerships?

Would love to hear from you and share my experience with you over a call. Drop me a line to book time to talk. I am reachable on:

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