Setting up a Foundation

Getting Started

Guide to Setting up a Foundation in Ireland Philanthropy Ireland developed this Guide for individuals and companies that are considering establishing their own foundation. has developed a number of guides for grantmakers that are free to download. Guidance is available on using requests for proposals (RFPs), advocacy funding, developing an exit strategy and working with start-up organisations.

Best Practice for Foundations

Due Diligence Done Well Grantmakers for Effective Organisations published this guidance in November 2010. While created for American funders, there are lessons that are relevant for all foundations.

Principles of Accountability for International Philanthropy was developed by a joint working group of the European Foundation Centre and the Council on Foundations. This report is intended to assist funders in becoming broadly accountable and effective agents for positive change in the international arena.

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) is a US-based organisation which provides foundations and other philanthropic funders with comparative data to enable higher performance. Three useful CEP documents are highlighted below.

Room for Improvement: Foundations’ support of nonprofit performance assessment from CEP finds that 81 percent of the nonprofits surveyed believe that nonprofits should demonstrate the effectiveness of their work by using performance measures.

Foundation Communications: The grantee perspective was developed by the CEP. The report reveals the key components of effective foundation communications with grantees, based on survey responses.

Working With Grantees: The keys to success and five program officers who exemplify them  explores what grantees value in their relationships with program officers and identifies four keys to success. Five high-performing program officers share their stories.

Principles of Good Practice were developed by the European Foundation Centre to reinforce good practice, openness and transparency amongst European foundations. The publication includes a set of seven guiding principles for philanthropic organisations operating in Europe and beyond.

The Foundation Center has compiled a list of resources for grantmaking organisations. Note that many resources on the list are not available as Web publications.

Research and General Information

I’m not Rockefeller: Thirty-three high net worth philanthropists discuss their approach to giving This report describes findings from a study conducted by the Center for High Impact Philanthropy to determine how high net worth philanthropists (HNWPs) are currently making their gift choices and the limitations they confront.

Stanford Social Innovation Review is a publication that aims to share insights and experiences to help those doing the important work of improving society to do it even better. Full access requires a subscription but much of the material is available free.

Resources for Charities & Fundraisers

Charities Institute Ireland:
Charities Institute Ireland exists to support and enable charities create positive social change.
The Web site contains a directory of training, events, a job recruitment board, advice and details on obtaining professional fundraising certificate.