The Covid-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on philanthropy: by May 2020 billions of dollars were donated across the world, driving a more rigorous approach based on data and community action, as civil society began to prepare its response to the pandemic. While some activity was pivoted to the pandemic response, many other philanthropic programmes across the world continued.

It is against this backdrop that the University of Geneva’s executive management school, GSEM, in collaboration with the Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (GCP) and external partner Genevensis Communications, are launching a new course in strategic and operational philanthropy. The programme, which will start in September 2021, is designed for mid-level professionals involved in philanthropy in international and philanthropic organisations, corporate philanthropy and family offices from the Geneva area and Switzerland, as well as those interested in pursuing a career in philanthropic organisations. Composed of twelve modules, it is divided into two Certificates of Advanced Study (CAS), which together make a diploma of Advanced Study (DAS).

“The pandemic is forcing people to think differently about philanthropy,” says Giuseppe Ugazio, Holder of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations Chair in Behavioural Philanthropy. “ Trends that were beginning to emerge such as public-private sector partnerships, cross-sector partnerships, data-driven decision-making, and more pooling of resources have been accelerated by current needs. With my colleagues, we have designed a course that will look forward into possible philanthropic futures, as well as provide a basis for attendees to further professionalise existing plans and programmes. ”Indeed, as people fall out of the employment market, losing their pay, and families are pushed into precarity, philanthropy will be needed to help support society even more than ever.

"With the COVID-19 crisis, the global context for development has fundamentally changed, making the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even more urgent. As philanthropic organisations play an increasingly prominent role in supporting the 2030 agenda, professionals in the sector need to be fully equipped. The SDGs will be at the heart of our course. » states Laetitia Gill.

The new course will call upon seasoned professionals and university professors, to provide the courses online and in class to enable participants to understand the complex and multifaceted context of contemporary Swiss and international philanthropy, as well as to master strategic and operational aspects of the sector. Being in Western Switzerland, home to many large and small national and international philanthropic organisations,

“The advent of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning enable organisations to use vast amounts of data much more efficiently. For example, AI can help scale data collection to better understand donors, analyze and personalize donor engagement, change how donors make decisions, become repeat donors, and encourage others to donate. Machine learning and algorithms can provide recommendations for philanthropic investment. These are but a few examples of the kinds of changes that the philanthropic sector will face in coming years.” says Danièle Castle.

The programme will be available as of September 2021 and interested persons can sign up as of January 2021. Each 6-module CAS will cost CHF 7,500.- and the full 12-module DAS will cost CHF 14,000.- The University of Geneva will be organising information sessions for interested participants. More information can be found on the website. The programme will be run in English and is open to anyone with at least three years’ professional experience and a strong interest in the subject matter.

More Information here

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