Learning Philanthropy: Opportunities for Support and Networking in the Region

As we come into the summer months, it appears that there is no slowing down yet in the engine rooms of the many foundations and organizations in the region that are focused on fostering local-sourced philanthropy and fundraising.

So this seems like a good opportunity to give a brief round-up of some of the activities taking place over the summer and into the fall, so that you can be sure to get these events on your calendar.


Sustainability Academy 

If you are working or volunteering with a small local organization or informal initiative in one of 5 countries in the Balkans, there is an opportunity for you to receive training in project planning and local fundraising techniques as part of the SIGN Network’s first-round of the Sustainability Academy.  This six-day course will be provided to 30 participants from 15 organizations in each of 5 countries:  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.  Organizations participating in the academy are also given the opportunity to use their new found skills by qualifying for a challenge grant based on local funds raised during the academy’s mentoring/coaching period.

If you are interested in applying, the deadline of 1 July is quickly approaching.  More details and the application form can be found on the website of each SIGN member:


Upcoming Learning and Networking Events 

Philanthropy Advice Training: I am currently in Bratislava at a training course occurring under the auspices of the Initiative for Strategic Philanthropy and Intelligent Resources (INSPIRE) project, a regional project of the Associaton for Community Resources (ARC) of Romania, working in partnership with other capacity building providers from Western Europe, to recruit and train philanthropy development practitioners to become Philanthropy Advisors — the first in the region — working directly with individual philanthropists and foundations to improve their giving practices. The trainer, Fenella Rouse, offers a great viewpoint on how to work with individual philanthropists to help them think more strategically about their giving and to be more effective.  The next round of this training is expected to be offered in Belgrade in October, and interested participants can learn more from Alina Porumb.

6th European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP) Conference: It may be a bit late to get organized for this this year, but this event taking place in Latvia on 11 – 12 July under the title Challenges for Research on Philanthropy: New and Transnational Perspectives promises to provide a lot of great data and analysis on key trends and issues within the European philanthropic and foundation world.  For more on this, see the ERNOP website or take a look at the programme.

Grantmakers East Forum: Hosted this year by the South Eastern European Indigenous Grantmakers Network (SIGN Network), the 18th annual Grantmakers East Forum (GEF) will take place on 16 – 18 October in Belgrade, Serbia.  GEF’s mission is to foster support, learning, networking and collaborating amongst grantmakers to promote the development of civil society. By providing funders with a platform to discuss their grantmaking efforts the Forum helps participants to be inspired and encourages new donor activity.  This is always a great time to compare experiences and to delve into the challenges that the sector faces.  This year’s theme is transparency and will surely offer a lot for each of us to learn from.

European Fundraising Association (EFA) Skillshare and Capacity Building Workshop: Being held this year in Rome, this annual event will take place on 14 – 15 November.  While EFA events are generally reserved for members or for those that have associate or observer status, the Capacity Building Workshop has been developed for leaders of nongovernmental organizations from Central and Eastern European countries where fundraising is still in its first stages of development and no formal fundraising association has been established.  Find out more info here.


Learn Philanthropy Via a M.O.O.C.

What is a M.O.O.C., you ask?  It is a Massive Open Online Course, and for the first time, a course on philanthropy is being offered.  

While this fantastic idea from the LearningByGiving Foundation is quite focused on the U.S. philanthropy sector, there much to be learned by each of us in this region.  The course begins July 15, so I encourage you to use this opportunity to follow this course and learn about why and how some significant U.S. philanthropists give.


Read and Learn

There are a number of blogs that I am turning to as a resource on philanthropy and have found that there is much to be learned from each.  Two of those that I have been enjoying recently and that are focused on the region are:

If you know of other blogs that address philanthropy and are focused on the Balkans, please share their links with us so that we can profile them in a future post.

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Nathan Koeshall