Our Fund took part in the event we had been looking forward to very much. Last week the Director of the Fund Elena Volodina took part in the most anticipated event for our foundation – the Seminar for the winners of the ‘New Dimension’ grant contest under the Vladimir Potanin Foundation.
”The most valuable thing for me is the expert support that the Vladimir Potanin Foundation will provide to our fund,” – said the Fund’s director. ‘We will receive finances for the development of the organization, not for project management, and this is a completely new approach. By means of this grant we will not only receive funds, but also become a member of the community of winners, which is a unique opportunity. Oksana Oracheva, the director of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, made a great contribution to this approach. This is her perspective that opened up so many opportunities and we are very grateful to her for this!’.
On the first day of the seminar, Svetlana Makovetskaya, Director of the GRANI Center, Co-Chair of the Presidium of the Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights under the President of the Russian Federation, shared her expert opinion on the topic of ‘Organizational sustainability in uncertain environment’. The seminar participants once again thought about what NPOs are facing in a situation of uncertainty, what growth points there are for organizations. The abundance of unfamiliar terms greatly expanded our horizons and allowed us to implement new concepts into our work, for example, the concept of ‘collective leadership’.
A speech about some very important things was given by Evgeny Gontmakher, member of the Board of the Institute of Contemporary Development, member of the European Dialogue expert group, member of the Russian Civil Forum Organizing Committee. It was a lecture on social vulnerability, public environment and government measures enforced during the coronavirus crisis and for the coming year.
There were no irrelevant topics, as all of them deserved a major panel discussion. For example, the fact that the development of our health care should be based on the real health state of our citizens, but nobody does any research on it. The discussion also included topics related to the categories of citizens which are now in the most vulnerable position, the level of poverty in Russia and plans to change it, the various health care systems, social protection and long-term care systems in our country and in the world.
The second day of the seminar was devoted to the discussion on various aspects of an Endowment formation. Some of the best experts in Russia spoke about their experience in opening and developing such funds: Olga Dranichkina (Tretyakov Gallery Support Fund), Maria Bulygina (TSU Endowment Fund), Oleg Sharipkov (‘Civil Union’ public charitable foundation of Penza), Lyudmila Panteleeva (independent advisor who helped with more than 40 endowments in Russia).
‘Communication with experts helped us to reconsider our plans for starting the Endowment fund, to compare our perspective with the practices of other organizations,’ – noted Elena Volodina. ‘It turned out that some of my ideas required more thorough consideration, and it is very good that at the initial stage we will be able to take into account some subtle aspects and avoid many mistakes. We really hope that we will be able to achieve our goal, and this will be our common achievement’.
According to our director, one of the reasons why she likes working in NPO sector is the communication style that enables people freely share their findings, experiences and successful practices. The concept of ‘trade secret’ is natural for business and is not completely irrelevant for non-profit organizations, but on the way to the well-being of society and individuals in need, it is wiser to share everything that allows us to do our job better.
On the third day of the seminar, the main topic was about NPOs switching to CRM. Back in 2018, we optimized many processes in the fund, tested several CRMs, implemented templates and revised algorithms. Recently, we managed to find a solution to improve management accounting, which will allow us to finally replace Exel with more advanced product. Thus, there will be more time for projects, communication with our wonderful teams of experts working with children in orphanages and other facilities, communication with children and donors.
We are very grateful to Alexey Sidorenko from the Greenhouse of Social Technologies, Evgenia Levenets from Children’s Villages – SOS, Natalya Petrova, Asya Suvorova from Nochlezhka, Kirill Tikhonov from the Amiveo company for their support, the information and effective solutions.
We also want to mention Katya Kritseva, a very talented artist, who drew the entire seminar in scribing technique, making the event literally unforgettable.