By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Policy for more information.
Jan 31, 2023
Academy of Givers

One of the first times giving foundations and companies were brought together to discuss giving with the intention to improve the sector and the way we give.

59% of corporate giving entities* that attended have a giving strategy but also believe they can give better.

On the 18th January 2023, the Academy of Givers brought together corporate and philanthropic foundations in Malta. The turn out was promising with 27 people from the main foundations and corporate giving entities being represented. This led to a detailed and insightful discussion on giving effectively and challenges foundations face. It is one of the first times that giving foundations and companies were brought together to discuss giving with the intention to improve the sector and the way we give.

Louisa Attard, from Academy of Givers, shared insight from the VO sector after numerous talks with different Voluntary Organisations, while also working in the NGO sector for several years.

Melanie Piscopo from St Jeanne Antide Foundation, a Voluntary Organisation, was invited to also share what they feel effective giving is about and how best companies and foundations should work with and support NGOs.

From a quick poll that was conducted during the session with representatives* of 17 corporate giving entities it was clear that a lot of good is being done in a structured way but we can all give better, measure our impact and create more partnerships with Voluntary Organisations.

While 59% have a giving strategy, 36% have dedicated staff to implement the strategy and only 23% package their donations with other support. It was great to see that 41% support Voluntary Organisations long-term and 50% have an active board.

A number of challenges, best practices and recommendations were presented following group discussions. The main understanding of what is done well, focused on having proper structures, planning ahead, transparency, aligning requests with Voluntary Organisations to their purpose and involving partners and employees. Many agreed that identifying their focus and giving depending on their pillars helped with effective giving.

Some believed having independent boards between the Corporate Foundation and their associated companies helps give more effectively. Partnerships also need to be created with the organisations we wish to support and understand their needs to become stronger entities and reach their objectives.

“It’s important to align your giving with your purpose”.

Challenges faced include:

  • Employee engagement – How to get employees involved?
  • Filtering requests and choosing which initiative to support - How to choose between social initiatives/organisations, and how to understand their value?
  • Impact measurement 
  • People asking for help after budget has already been set/decided 
  • Finding time to support a lot of initiatives 
  • Finding people who are truly engaged 
  • Not having dedicated staff to run the Foundation
  • How to communicate what we’re doing with our employees and other stakeholders in a meaningful way
  • Creating proper collaborations

Voluntary Organisations should also be aware of companies’ financial year to be able to approach companies in advance for support. It was interesting to see that risk taking was brought up and that as a country we don’t take enough risk with the way we give to support systematic change.

From the Voluntary Organisation perspective, it was communicated that its important that partnerships are created, and a plan is developed to support the NGO. Important to understand NGOs needs, financial support is always needed but companies can also support NGOs and social enterprises to grow and ways to become more sustainable. Social volunteering by employees is crucial to support NGOs and develop active citizens; this could also be in the form of skill-based volunteering. It was also discussed that some companies providing services could appoint a liaison person to work with NGOs to support their beneficiaries that might fall through the gaps, become inundated with debts or cannot access services.


Read this article for more insight from Voluntary Organisations and how best to support them.