Lunch & Learn n°21
Failures in philanthropy: an opportunity for collective progress
“Regrets, I’ve had a few – but then again, too few to mention” belts out Frank Sinatra in “My Way”. Facing unparalleled social, economic and environmental problems, can philanthropists afford to go it alone? Can we only learn from each other through our successes, or will we dare to share our failures too? The C&A Foundation is amongst a select group of givers and NGOs that has taken the risk of stepping out front. In a recent report, the Foundation has shared all its data – the good, the bad and the ugly – taken from its efforts to improve living conditions for garment workers factories in Asia. In “Frankly Speaking”, a report produced in association with the consultancy Giving Evidence, the data shows that whilst wages went up and worker turnover went down in most factories, in a large number of units, absenteeism did not go down. For the C&A Foundation, what have been the costs and benefits of sharing this information freely? Has it led to greater collaboration with other actors in the garment industry? Has it galvanized or diminished the motivation of C&A Foundation staff and partners? Has it led to refinement of the programme or to completely new directions? The seminar will also draw out the lessons for other givers and actors contemplating such a course of action.
Leslie Johnston, Executive Director of the C&A Foundation (Switzerland)
Caroline Fiennes, Director and Founder, Giving Evidence (United Kingdom)