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Working for the ‘Evolution’ of Australian Philanthropy

January 19th, 2017

The country’s peak body for donors, Philanthropy Australia, is embarking on a strategic plan which includes a bold new business model around membership and changes to its legal structure while still retaining its core policy and advocacy work. Lina Caneva spoke to CEO Sarah Davies about the changes for 2017 and beyond.

Philanthropy Australia’s CEO Sarah Davies has now been in the top job since November 2015.

Even in that short time she agrees that the terms “philanthropy” and “giving” have changed significantly both in Australia and globally and a new strategic plan for the organisation has required an evolutionary approach rather than a revolutionary approach.

“When developing our 2017 to 2020 strategic map, we had to balance our rich heritage with the ‘now’ and the future. We had to recognise the incredible expertise and resources of our traditional members and to their commitment to philanthropy. But we also needed to acknowledge that philanthropy is changing,” Davies said.

“We needed to respond to the emergence of new types of philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, new ways of giving, new ways of investing corpus, changing and blurring relationships between ‘givers’ and ‘receivers’ and the growing realisation that the social sector was very much part of the philanthropic community and they have as much of an interest in our success as do the funders. We also understood that corporates and intermediaries are critical to the success of our community.

“We have spent a lot of time looking at what the world is shaping up to look like for the next five to 10 years. How do we adapt and accommodate and take advantage of the opportunities it presents and how to we defend ourselves against some of the challenges that it might present.”

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