What is Dafne?
Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (Dafne) is a network gathering donors and foundations associations in Europe with the aim of providing a platform to share knowledge and learn from best practices. With 30 member associations with a collective membership of more than 10,000 foundations and grant-makers, Dafne underpins individual activities of its members by encouraging dialogue and collaboration between the national associations. Each Dafne member individually serves public benefit foundations and other donors at national level: their roles and services vary from country to country.
The diversity among the various Dafne members brings the opportunity to gain different perspectives, enrich each association by learning from peers’ experiences and get to know the wider European context. Dafne creates an effective mechanism for Europe-wide collaboration; exchange of know how; and the creation of a pool of knowledge at the level of the Dafne network among philanthropy support organisations.
What we do?
Dafne provides a collective voice for foundations thus supporting the representative role that associations play at national level. Dafne works with two main strategic partners EFC and WINGS to strengthen the voice and representation of the philanthropic sector at European and global levels.
The origins of Dafne stem from informal meetings initiated by the European Foundation Centre (EFC) in 1997 which focused on the role and work of national associations and donors forums. Dafne was founded in 2006 and subsequently was established as an informal network of 21 national associations and donor networks in 2009, with the goal of promoting the exchange of experience and knowledge of the associations of donors and foundations, and to strengthen philanthropy in Europe. It was supported as an informal peer learning network with an EFC-based secretariat for the next 10 years. With the value of peer learning and support becoming more evident Dafne embarked on a process of development and took on a part-time Co-ordinating Director in 2015 order to enhance its professionalism and establish Dafne as an effective mechanism for Europe-wide collaboration; exchange of know how; and the creation of a pool of knowledge at the level of Dafne network among philanthropy support organisations.
From informal network to a legal entity
The next step was the building of an executive team and establishment of a full-time presence in Brussels in 2017. With a desire to further professionalise the network, and to meet the needs of members and to be more effective in representing diverse interests of the foundation sector across Europe in a dynamic philanthropy ecosystem in Europe, in 2018 Dafne was established as a legal entity, an AISBL, registered in Belgium.
Dafne remains committed to participatory leadership, which will be facilitated by this legal entity. It has grown to 30 members and extended the scope of its work, in particular in respect of informing and influencing the operating environment for philanthropy.