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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

A framework to innovate for the future

This opinion piece is about 5 years old

Olga Tarasov: New York based Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors have created a guide to help charities evaluate and enhance their impact

As the rapidly changing world brings forth new challenges, philanthropy is undergoing profound transformation. Faced with growing demands, increased scrutiny, and shifting views on the value and obligations of donors, philanthropic leaders are increasingly asking how their organisations can help drive impact beyond simply providing funding.

Globally and locally, organisations are seeking new tools for optimising their effectiveness and aligning all resources in their arsenal to deliver on their mission, strategy and goals. In response to this rising tide, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors developed the Philanthropy Framework, a tool to give organisations structure for evaluating and enhancing their ability to achieve maximum impact.

Our framework takes organisations on a journey of reflection and introspective analysis, and examines their legacy, governance and decision-making, their role in society, and how they choose to marshal and operationalise resources.

Olga Tarasov
Olga Tarasov

The framework is comprised of three core elements:

  1. Charter – the organisation’s scope, form of governance, and decision-making protocol.
  2. Social compact – its implicit or explicit agreement with society about the value it will create.
  3. Operating model – the approach to the resources, structures and systems needed to implement strategy.

The framework prompts philanthropic leaders to examine their organisation’s charter to better understand how its present methods of decision making connect to its founding purpose.

Next, the framework encourages an investigation into an organisation’s social compact, or its reciprocal agreement with society, which is often called a license to operate. Finally, once a philanthropic organisation’s scope and reason for being are examined, the operating model can articulate how strategy is implemented. Within the operating model, an organisation’s operating capabilities represent the specific resources, activities, costs, and relationships at its disposal for carrying out its strategy.

The Philanthropy Framework is a practical, concrete tool for analysis, planning, and decision-making.

Foundations in the US and Europe have begun using this framework successfully with their boards and leadership teams. We are particularly honored to share our framework with Scotland’s dynamic third sector and the greater ecosystem of partners at The Gathering. We hope this will assist organisations to be better positioned in today’s era of innovation, re-evaluation and expansion to manage opportunities and risks, and achieve impact.

Olga Tarasov is director of knowledge development at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors events at The Gathering 2019:

The Future of the third sector – leadership in a changing world - Wednesday 20 Feb, 9.45am, Meeting Academy

The Future of the third sector – leadership in a changing world Thursday 21 Feb, 9.30am, Meeting Academy