Philanthropy and civil society organizations depend on a positive environment that enables the accomplishment of their missions. Worldwide, philanthropy is facing a concerning trend as civil society organizations deal with heightened control and excessive, unwarranted restrictions on funding, both locally and internationally. In the domestic arena, barriers on the ability of civil society organizations to incorporate, operate and receive funding are pervasive in far too many locations. With respect to the international context, over the past several years, dozens of countries have adopted new laws and regulations that hinder cross-border funding, often under the guise of protecting security or preserving sovereignty. Organizations supporting philanthropy are both impacted by these trends and have an important role in addressing barriers, and possible approaches and strategies to address these barriers and improve the environment for philanthropy.
As a global association of organizations supporting philanthropy, WINGS is committed to contribute to the creation of a more enabling environment for philanthropy and civil society globally.
Call for cases on enabling environment
In July 2019, WINGS published the Impact Case Studies: Promoting an enabling environment for philanthropy and civil society, featuring eight cases from different countries to bring to the spotlight experiences that often remain behind the scenes.
WINGS wants to contribute to the development of a more enabling environment for philanthropy and civil society by showcasing its members and partners experiences. To achieve this goal, we will continue the ongoing process, started in February 2018, of gathering relevant experiences and learnings from the network.
If you have an experience on the promotion of a more enabling environment that you would like to share with your peers, please submit it to WINGS by sending a description of the case to Nadya –email@example.com. Please make sure to read the guidelines before submitting your experience.
WINGS latest activities
WINGS and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) launched the tool Assessing the Legal Environment for Civil Society Organisations, designed to help philanthropy organizations decide where it may be most effective to engage in efforts to improve the legal environment at the national and/or regional levels.
In January 2019, the Ashoka University’s Centre for Social Impact & Philanthropy in partnership with WINGS, launched the Enabling Philanthropy and Social Impact in India: State of the Support Ecosystem. This publication reviews the social impact and philanthropy sectors in India and its development in the last two decades, mapping the existing PSO infrastructure and addressing how to strengthen Indian philanthropy infrastructure.
The Impact Case Studies: Promoting an enabling environment for philanthropy and civil society was published in June 2019, after collecting cases from the network. The publication illustrates how PSOs have implemented successful strategies to promote an enabling environment for civil society and philanthropy to thrive. The publication also features specialised articles from the International Center for Not- for-Profit Law (ICNL), Forus and CIVICUS. The Enabling Environment Affinity Group wrote a joint article that was published as part of Impact Case studies.
During the first semester of 2019, WINGS and ICNL hosted two online trainings to build capacity on the Enabling Environment Assessment. The first session introduced the participants to the different types of laws and legal issues that can impact philanthropic giving, with a focus on the importance of an enabling legal environment. The second session was focused on how to use the tool that was launched during the webinar.
Webinar on Advocacy for the philanthropic sector. During the 1-hour discussion, participants learned more about the important role philanthropy plays in advocating for change in public policy. As specific barriers come up in terms of legislation and resources, philanthropy needs to find more strategic ways to drive the necessary changes to thrive.
Regional Discussion (Latin America and the Caribbean)
In October, WINGS hosted the 2nd Regional Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean. Finding Common Paths to Fostering an Enabling Environment in the Region. The meeting took place in October 29th and 30th in Sao Paulo, Brazil and led to the publication of a Collective Declaration for a more enabling environment in the region.
WINGS previous activities
In January 2018, WINGS co-signed a joint declaration with CIVICUS and its Affinity Group of National Associations (CIVICUS/AGNA), and Forus (former International Forum of National NGO Platforms-IFP). The document was called ‘Declaration to Support a More Enabling Environment for Philanthropy and Civil Society, including NGOs,’ and represents a concerted effort to address pressing issues regarding philanthropic freedom and attacks on civic space and to develop a culture of giving and solidarity globally.
In September 2018, WINGS partnered with the OECD Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD) for a side-event at the 73rd UN General Assembly. This meeting brought together close to 70 senior philanthropy leaders and experts from the WINGS network and partners. WINGS, CAF, and the OECD later collaborated on a blog piece about the content of the meeting.
In October 2018, WINGS hosted a webinar on FATF Counter-Terrorism Policy with the European Foundation Centre (EFC) and Global NPO Coalition.
WINGS hosted a special session during WINGSForum on February 21, 2017, in Mexico City, for the Workshop on Enabling Environment for Philanthropy and Civil Society. About 50 representatives from organisations supporting philanthropy, foundations, international organisations and other institutions working to create a more enabling environment for civil society and philanthropy participated in this activity. The Mexico City Declaration was shared later at WINGSForum as an outcome from this activity.
International Meeting on the Enabling Environment for Philanthropy, held on March 10–11, in Lisbon.
35 representatives of philanthropy infrastructure organizations from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America met to discuss the current situation regarding the enabling – or disenabling – environment for philanthropy; the role of philanthropy support organizations in addressing barriers, and possible approaches and strategies to address these barriers and improve the environment for philanthropy.
This was the opportunity to gather 35 representatives of philanthropy infrastructure organisations and key partners that resulted in a document that presents a picture of the global scenario for philanthropy, highlights regional perspectives, showcases examples of global cooperation in place, defines possible responses to the current problems, and looks into the future by presenting a road map for the global philanthropy community.
Collective Declaration from the WINGS Latin America and the Caribbean Affinity Group, 2019 (Download in English, Spanish and Portuguese)
Assessing the Legal Environment for Civil Society Organizations, 2019 (Download here)
Healthy philanthropy = healthy society, joint article from the Enabling Environment Affinity Group, 2019 (Download here)
Unlocking Philanthropy's Potential, 2018 (Download here) (Also available in Portuguese)
Enabling Philanthropy and Social Impact in India: State of the Support Ecosystem, 2019 (Download here)
Declaration to Support a More Enabling Environment for Philanthropy and Civil Society, including NGOs, 2018 (Download here)
WINGS LAC Regional Meeting Report, 2018 (Download here in English and Spanish)
WINGSForum 2017 Mexico City Declaration, 2017 (Download here)
Enabling Environment for Philanthropy and Civil Society WINGSForum workshop, February 21st, 2017, Mexico City, Synthesis, 2017 (Download here)
Enabling Environment for Philanthropy: An International Convening of WINGS (Meeting Proceedings - Extended Version), 2016 (Download here)
Enabling Environment for Philanthropy: An International Convening of WINGS, Roadmap, 2016 (Download here)
Knowledge Center: WINGS’ comprehensive global library of resources about the field and its developments.
State of Civil Society Report 2019, CIVICUS (Download here)
WINGS webinar on how to use the 4Cs Framework to articulate your Capacity, Connections, Capability, and Credibility. (Watch here)
What difference do PSOs make? Compiled by WINGS, this publication provides a synthesis of 8 impact stories shared by our members and which illustrate the diversity and importance of their contributions to the development of philanthropy. (Download here)
What makes a strong ecosystem of support to philanthropy? Developed by WINGS, this paper provides information and key messages to guide the reflections of funders, philanthropy support leaders and other actors in developing their infrastructure and turning it into a proper ecosystem. (Download here)