Foundation executives explore role of talent management in making philanthropy more effective

Second global gathering on talent management will produce a concise set of recommendations for philanthropic sector

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA, September 15, 2017 – In a period of mistrust of our institutions, and crisis in our governance and corporate systems, the philanthropic sector is playing an important role in bridging divides, re-establishing trust, and addressing the need for a new civic imagination that is inclusive of all people in a globalized connected world.

While significant attention is paid to the financial resources at stake in philanthropy, less focus is given to the skills which make grantmaking for the public good possible. 

In philanthropies, human resources can often be viewed simply as an administration function responsible for payroll, benefits administration and logistical aspects of recruitment. In the business world, however, there are signs it can be utilized for other positive purposes. 

The global corporate sector has myriad examples of human resource operations prioritizing the recruitment, development and engagement of talented employees. Businesses invest their time in forward planning and carefully-executed policies for employee engagement, training and evaluation to optimize organizational resilience and performance.

As the global philanthropic sector continues to expand, there will be a greater need for philanthropic institutions to recognize the importance of human resources in attracting, recruiting, and engaging talented staff who can help take their organizations forward.

From Sunday, 30 human resources professionals and executive directors of foundations will convene at Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg, Austria, for Session 581 - Driving the Change: Global Talent Management for Effective Philanthropy. Together they will discuss the challenges surrounding talent management, and the practices which can be implemented to achieve better results.

The session, which will reach a conclusion on Wednesday, will see participants share insights from various regions and aggregate perspectives and experiences from specific areas of expertise within human resources.

They will attend lectures, take part in group discussions, and focus on developing ways to improve perceptions of talent management in philanthropies. Smaller group conversations will highlight new and ongoing challenges to talent management, identify specific skill and leadership training opportunities, and expand the network of talent management professionals in the philanthropic sector.

Looking ahead to 2030, participants will consider the key trends for the philanthropic sector and how they might vary between major global regions. They will also be asked to assess what kind of talent and skills foundations will need now and in the future and how the recruitment process can be designed to meet this.

Special attention will also be paid to the most innovative practices in talent management and how these can be applied to the philanthropic sector. By the end of the program, participants will produce a concise set of recommendations for dissemination to the global philanthropic sector. 

This session is part of Salzburg Global’s longstanding series Optimizing Institutional Philanthropy, and also builds on the first meeting held at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in 2013.  

Andrew Ho, US development director at Salzburg Global Seminar, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to expand the conversation on the important role of talent management in enabling philanthropy to be more effective, courageous, and impactful for society globally. We are grateful to be hosting this group, and look forward to inspiring collaborative solutions and creating lasting networks among the participants."

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Thomas Biebl
Director, Marketing & Communications
Salzburg Gobal Seminar
+43 (662) 83983-146

Salzburg Global Seminar is an independent non-profit organization founded in 1947 with a mission to challenge present and future leaders to solve issues of global concern. More than 30,000 people from nearly 170 countries have participated in our programs over seven decades.

Salzburg Global designs multi-year programs to bridge divides and foster collaboration for lasting change. We convene outstanding people across generations, cultures and sectors. Together we seek to achieve long-term impact and results at scale through alliances, networks and projects on the ground.

Our secluded and inspiring home at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria – built in 1736 by the Archbishop of Salzburg, restored by the Salzburg Festival’s co-founder Max Reinhardt, used by Hollywood for sets in The Sound of Music, and now an award-winning hotel – allows us to welcome all participants in conditions of trust, openness and creativity.

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The Salzburg Global program Driving the Change: Global Talent Management for Effective Philanthropy is part of Salzburg Global’s longstanding series Optimizing Institutional Philanthropy. It is being held in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the ZeShan Foundation. More information on the session can be found here. You can follow all of the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSphil.

President and Chief Executive Officer
Stephen L. Salyer


Washington, D.C., USA and Salzburg, Austria

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About Us

Salzburg Global Seminar is an independent non-profit strategic convenor founded in 1947 to challenge present and future leaders to solve issues of global concern. Its interconnected program clusters – Imagination, Sustainability, Justice – support the evolving needs of changemakers across generations, sectors and scales to accelerate breakthrough thinking and collaboration. We work with the world’s leading public and private organizations and philanthropic investors, leveraging our network of over 25,000 Fellows across 160 countries. Salzburg Global’s programs are convened at Schloss Leopoldskron, Austria. This 300-year old palace provides an inspiring retreat and an internationally-renowned space for openness to address complex challenges.