Beginning in June 2017, the EFC carried out a survey of its members touching upon various topics, including how member organisations see their role and that of institutional philanthropy on democracy.

As such, we asked members to answer a few questions about democracy:

  • State how important is the idea of democracy in their work on a scale of 1 to 10
  • Position themselves on 28 statements on democracy with which they agree or disagree (e.g. our organisation invests in human rights; our organisation supports innovation in democracy)
  • Give examples of successful work conducted on democracy in past five years
  • Share their plans to work on democracy in the coming years 

It was found that the importance of democracy varies quite a lot among the respondents. There is a huge scatter of responses across the spectrum of philanthropy with a few organisations seeing democracy as a minor factor in their work, a second larger group as a low component, and another two large groups stating that democracy is either very important or is the corner stone of their activity.

In continuing research into the work of organisations, it was seen that in democracy as a key component of  activity it was possible to identify four distinct approaches:

  • The MAINSTREAMERS: the most common strand of work is a general and systemic intervention including through research and advocacy;
  • The PLURALISTS : a second approach is work to support pluralistic, open societies based on tolerance and diversity;
  • The HARMONISTS: the third strand of work is that of solidarity, togetherness to advance cohesion and equality;
  • The POWER SHIFTERS: the fourth approach is about shifting the power to the lowest level in our society where it makes sense, it’s about subsidiarity or devolution.

Through the latest analysis, we also found out that among the respondents having a fixed mandate, it has no bearing on whether an institution supports democracy.

On the other hand, supporting democracy does overlap with work on International Affairs, Migration, Rights and Peace, Roma, Women/Gender, Solidarity, and Sustainable Development.

To have a quick overview of the full analysis of this part of the survey, click on the following link: EFCMembersSurvey2017

Around 80 EFC members have already replied to the EFC survey to date, updates on the findings will be provided regularly. You can still take the survey here.