Unpacking diversity and inclusion, grantee indirect costs and change management with the Operations Professionals Network

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The autumn meeting of the EFC’s Operations Professionals Network (OPN) brought together 50 operations experts from 13 EFC members to engage and learn with peers on 2-3 December in Lisbon, hosted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Participants in the five subgroups comprising OPN (COOs, HR, Finance, Legal and IT) shared insights and surfaced learnings on a range of important operations topics including grantee due diligence, diversity and inclusion, business intelligence, budget allocation and legal practice management.

The programme in the HR stream zeroed in on questions such as how to play a catalytic role in successful leadership transformation and how to tackle unconscious bias in recruitment; whereas the IT peers discussed how to turn numerical data into appealing invoices and how artificial intelligence and automated processes can lead to higher outputs in the workplace.

The Finance group organised their exchanges around the key questions of how to allocate budgets to priority topics and how to conduct due diligence in new geographies or when working with new entity types. Lastly, the Legal participants had the opportunity to take stock on peer organisations’ responses to foreign funding restrictions and the legal aspect of social impact investments.

Among the overall highlights of the programme was the closing keynote delivered by Thomas Hilbink, Director of the Global Grantmaking Support Group, at Open Society Foundations. Mr. Hilbink presented evidence that grantee indirect costs are much higher than previously thought, and shared learnings from the foundation’s work in trying address the chronic underfunding of indirect costs and help strengthen partner organisations.

For more information on the work of the Operations Professionals Network contact Stefanos Oikonomou.

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