Capability building

Our objectives

DAFNE fosters dialogue and knowledge exchange between its members and relevant stakeholders. 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’s aim is to empower the philanthropic sector in Europe, to enhance professionalism and effectiveness of national associations through advocacy, capability building, connecting and communicating as well as research.

How do we foster capability building?

DAFNE offers a wide range of events and formats to enhance professionalism and peer-learning between its members.

DAFNE Retreat

The DAFNE Retreat is an exclusive event that provides an opportunity for leaders of national associations and donors forums to come together to consider relevant strategic and operational issues. It is designed primarily as a peer learning forum with external expert input as appropriate, for the sharing of ideas, knowledge and experience, which will help inspire and offer practical solutions that will contribute to enhancing the impact they have on their membership and in the philanthropy field at national level.

Annual DAFNE Forum

The DAFNE Forum is the annual flagship event which provides a space to consider current topical issues, share knowledge and experience, and engage with a broad range of stakeholders with an interest in the work of national associations and donors forums and their foundation and donor members.  The forum involves field leaders and experts and its highly interactive format ensures there are many opportunities for active engagement, learning and networking at both strategic and practical levels.

The DAFNE Forum in 2019 took place in Dublin.  It brought together staff and board members participants from national associations and donors forums from 20 countries across Europe, along with invited guests from a number of peer organisations and other stakeholders in the philanthropy support field.

DAFNE Academy

The DAFNE Academy is the umbrella for DAFNE and member-led activities that aim to enhance capability, through improving knowledge, skills and competencies.  The Academy will include webinars, briefings, and workshops.  It will focus on the interests of DAFNE members but is also intended to reach a wider audience within the philanthropy support ecosystem and where appropriate DAFNE will collaborate with others in design and implementation to enhance collaboration within the field.

Examples in 2019 include webinars on community foundations and their support ecosystem; the stronger foundations initiative; the EU elections – is a Eurosceptic sentiment a threat to philanthropy; along with a workshop on the 4Cs evaluation framework.

DAFNE Summer Meeting


The DAFNE Summer Meeting offers the possibility for the membership to engage with other international associations and networks attending the EFC annual conference in a meeting focussing on issues of specific interest to infrastructure organisations.   The Summer Meeting has a relatively short agenda addressing a few critical topics, and provides for informal networking.

The 2019 Summer Meeting takes place in Paris and is being hosted by the Centre Français des Fonds et Fondations.

Knowledge Exchange Events

Knowledge Exchange events are designed to enable DAFNE members to engage their foundation members in consideration of topics that is of Europe-wide interest and to provide an opportunity for trans-national networking.  Having organised several highly successful Knowledghe Exchange events for corproate founhdations, and for foundations with an interest in cultural heritage DAFNE will explore opportunities with members to host similar events around themes and issues where there is scope to add value through Europe-wide interaction, and to help stimulate and inform on-going work at national level. 

In 2019 the primary Knowledge Exchange event is the C-Summit, being organised by DAFNE and EVPA.