In 2017-18, the Pearl Initiative undertook research understand the current state of governance in philanthropy across Gulf-based businesses.
Our research was based on a 3-pronged approach: 1) a survey to key individuals engaged in the philanthropic and non-profit ecosystem in the Gulf Region, 2) a series of focus group meeting in Dubai, Kuwait, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and 3) in-depth discussions with key experts operating across the sector.
In April of 2018, we published a report providing a detailed analysis of our findings. The report offers insight into the governance expectation of gulf-based business donors and the current governance capabilities of philanthropic organisations across the region.
Our research suggests that while both the donor and implementing organisations in the philanthropic and non-profit ecosystem show positive efforts are being made to incorporate good governance practices, all agree that there is a definite need to enhance these capabilities across the sector.
The following sections highlight some of our key findings and recommendations included in the report.
- 100% of the survey respondents consider governance practices in the philanthropic and non-profit ecosystem need to be improved and 82% think there is a need to enhance governance practices within their own organisations.
- 81% of the foundations surveyed not only provide grants to implementing organisations but also implement their own philanthropic programmes and activities. 60% of corporations and family offices do the same. The general perception within this ecosystem is that there is a lack of trust by the donor community in the philanthropic and non- profit organisations which implement programmes, hence why foundations and other donors often implement their own programmes.
- The presence of a board is one of the most prevalent issues of importance for donors with over 80% indicating that this was a key factor to consider when providing funding to implementing organisations. On the other hand, 80% of implementing organisations surveyed have established a board and most of these boards are involved in strategic and annual planning activities with less focus on other areas such as diversity and succession planning. Some organisations are interested in finding ways to increase the effectiveness of their board and engagement with board members.