The Philea Virtual Library

The Philea Virtual Library includes over 1,000 free-to-download publications from a range of organisations and publishers on the topics of philanthropy, the management of foundations and the areas they are involved in and support. As a Philea member you can send us your publications for inclusion in the library which will also be added to the global IssueLab network where they will be made available to an extended audience, including users of Worldcat, the global catalogue used by tens of thousands of libraries. For questions or assistance, please contact the Philea Virtual Library.
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Operating Archetypes: Philanthropy’s New Analytical Tool for Strategic Clarity

April 27, 2022

This publication is part of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' multiyear Theory of the Foundation initiative, which seeks to enhance the capacity of philanthropies to effectively align their resources for the impact they envision. Operating Archetypes is a new tool for action and alignment for funders seeking to optimize their operations and impact. We hope that both established and emerging funders, as well as the broader community of grantees and partners, will find this new analytical framework enriching and beneficial in their pursuit of thoughtful and effective philanthropy. 

Administration and Management; Governance, Boards and Strategy; Philanthropy, Theory, Philosophy and History

Learning to Let Go : Decision-making for foundations

February 1, 2022

Building on over 25 years of grant and decision-making at MAVA, this publication sheds lights on three distinct decision-making models implemented by the foundation over the last decades. It looks at the roles of board members and staff as well as the centre of gravity for decision-making. Based on the experience of the foundation, the authors provide pros and cons for each of the models. While there is no single answer to the best decision-making model question, the authors explain that collaborative processes, adaptive management, speed and trust are important factors for increasing impact and that the decision-making process needs to be build for that purpose. This report is part of a series of learning products developed by MAVA (due to close down in 2022) to reflect on and share the foundation's learnings about institution processes and ways of working, with the aim of inspiring donor strategies and best practices. Other learning products are available in this virtual library and here: https://mava-foundation.org/learning/ 

Administration and Management; Evaluation and Learning; Foundation Sector, History and Analysis; Governance, Boards and Strategy

Taking the Pulse of the European Foundation Sector : Moving from Proving Impact to Improving Impact

January 1, 2022

This report contains key insights, survey data and case studies from the first year of the European and Spanish Communities of Practice on Impact Measurement and Management (IMM), coordinated by the Esade Center for Social Impact with the support of BBK. These groups of foundation professionals from 15 countries have come together to increase the level of transparency, knowledge-sharing and exchange within the European foundation sector on this topic. Building on the transcribed discussions and surveys of approximately 40 European foundations, the authors have developed several learnings they hope will help the whole European foundation sector, as well as any other organizations that want to measure and manage their impact. In this perspective, the report also includes tables outlining what the different 'levels' of practice might be, so that the reader can understand what the impact management learning journey looks like at different stages (beginner, on the journey, and advanced).In addition to the present report, the following page provides links to the recording of the launch of the report as well as presentation slides: https://www.esade.edu/en/faculty-and-research/research/knowledge-units/center-social-impact/research/community-practice 

Administration and Management; Evaluation and Learning; Foundation Sector, History and Analysis

Be an Octopus : Reflections from an Engaged Donor

November 1, 2021

After more than 25 years of activity, and one year before the closing of MAVA, a small group of staff members reflected on what it really means to be "an engaged donor". In this report, they explore ways of engagement for donors, reflect on those they have experimented, putting an emphasis on improving project design and implementation, supporting partner organisations and high potential individuals, and increasing the system connectivity.Also included are key lessons learnt presented around the issues of optimal timing, depth of engagement, human relationships, appropriate staffing, decision-making model and communicating vs labelling a donor-partner affiliation. The authors try to address concrete questions faced in their engaged donor day-to-day life. This report is part of a series of learning products developed by MAVA (due to close down in 2022) to reflect on and share the foundation's learnings about institution processes and ways of working, with the aim of inspiring donor strategies and best practices. Other learning products are available in this virtual library and here: https://mava-foundation.org/learning/ 

Administration and Management; Evaluation and Learning; Foundation Sector, History and Analysis; Grantmaking and Programme Management

Funding Organisational Development: a smart investment to multiply impact : Views from five Foundations

September 10, 2020

Oak Foundation together with Laudes Foundation, MAVA Foundation, Mercator Foundation and PeaceNexus Foundation reflected on, articulated and shared their learning about supporting Organisational Development (OD). In this paper they share their key insights on how to engage in OD, describe a standard OD process and address dilemmas. It promotes OD as a key dimension in the daily work of any grant making foundation.

Administration and Management; Evaluation and Learning

EFC Gender Equality Network: Initial Gender Mainstreaming Assessment

December 1, 2019

The members of the Gender Equality Network have initiated an assessment to reflect on and share their experiences in integrating the gender dimension structurally into their organisational policies, practices and culture in the pursuit of greater equality.This report offers an initial analysis of the experiences and approaches of six funders; C&A Foundation, Foundation CHANEL, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, King Baudouin Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Wellcome Trust.

Administration and Management; Ethical issues and Good Practices; Gender and Women

Understanding & Sharing What Works: The State of Foundation Practice

November 8, 2018

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) surveyed private and community foundation leaders regarding what they know about what is and isn't working in their foundations' efforts to achieve their goals. Drawing from 119 survey responses and in-depth interviews with 41 foundation CEOs, the report finds that while the majority of foundation CEOs believe they understand well what is working in their programmatic efforts, more than 40 percent believe their foundation is not investing enough time and money in developing that understanding.

Administration and Management; Grantmaking and Programme Management; Knowledge and Data Management

Philanthropy's Reflective Practices

August 9, 2018

What do skilled philanthropy practitioners have in common? They are active learners about the fields, issues and places they support. That is their first discipline. And, they work at creating meaningful connections with grantees and others, especially when power imbalances, difficult conversations or differing viewpoints are at play. This is their second discipline. In this guide, you will find their stories about using four methods of reflective practice that can help you build what you bring to advancing change inside your foundation, with your grantees and other partners.

Administration and Management; Giving and Volunteering; Philanthropy, Theory, Philosophy and History

Onboarding Best Practices: A Guide for Onboarding New Staff

January 17, 2018

Effective onboarding can help your organization reduce costs associated with staff turnover and ensure that new employees are set up for success. According to a 2010 Society for Human Resource Management study, "employees in a well-structured onboarding program are 69 percent more likely to remain at the company after three years." The effects of onboarding last for years, so it is worthwhile to spend time considering the best approach for your organization.This guide provides templates and tools for effective onboarding that can be modified to meet the needs of any organization. It focuses on three stages of onboarding: (1) What needs to happen before the employee begins (2) That crucial first day (3) The first week and beyond. It also includes a sample evaluation for employees to take about the onboarding process itself. This provides organizations with ongoing feedback about the onboarding process.

Administration and Management

Frameworks for Private Foundations: A New Model for Impact

June 27, 2017

Philanthropy is evolving more quickly than ever with new societal challenges, new players, and new strategies. Funders are seeking to increase their effectiveness, and want clear, practical guidance for getting there. This GrantCraft leadership series paper produced in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), explores the core frameworks that shape private foundations, and offers a roadmap for funders interested in reflecting on these frameworks to better align purpose, public benefit, and action.

Administration and Management; Philanthropy, Theory, Philosophy and History

Benchmarking Program Officer Roles and Responsibilities

June 1, 2017

The role of the program officer at foundations is one of great importance. This is not news to the thousands of nonprofit organizations relying on program officers for crucial information, guidance, and funding. Yet, we know relatively little about the role that program officers play at foundations and with nonprofits. What are the backgrounds and experiences of program officers? What are the job responsibilities on which they spend the most time? How do they view their relationships with grantees? In the following pages, we share the results of a survey we conducted, in mid-2016, to gain a better understanding of the role of the program officer. We sent surveys to over 300 program officers who we randomly selected from foundations that give at least $5 million annually. We received responses from 150 individuals for a response rate of 48 percent.

Administration and Management

Risk Management for Philanthropy: A Toolkit

January 2, 2017

Risk is a fundamental component of philanthropists' success. Philanthropists invest money to achieve certain specified outcomes, and like any investment, that transaction is governed by the interplay between risk and return. While philanthropy has taken strides in recent years to build out the monitoring and evaluation systems necessary to measure and determine our return—described as impact—we routinely ignore the risk half of the equation.To address this gap, Open Road Alliance, Rockefeller Foundation, and Arabella Advisors convened the Commons— a diverse task force that represents all facets of philanthropy, including foundations, nonprofits, impact service providers, nonprofit attorneys, wealth advisors, and philanthropic associations. The Commons confirmed that the lack of open conversation about potential risk is a major problem for the field, and developed a first set of user-friendly tools to help funders implement better risk practices. These tools are broadly applicable across the philanthropic sector and can help all types of funders, from those first beginning to discuss risk internally to those who are evaluating the effectiveness of their risk management strategies after several years. With this toolkit, we seek to encourage funders to establish a deliberate risk profile and integrate risk management into their philanthropic practice.

Administration and Management; Evaluation and Learning; Finance and Investment; Governance, Boards and Strategy; Grantmaking and Programme Management

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