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Peer to peer exchanges

Peer to peer exchanges between community foundations and support organisations exchanges provide the necessary framework and space for a fruitful mixture of communication, learning end experiences. They are, so to speak, a real-life social laboratory, and like all good labs, they are experimental and hope to bring fruitful results. These cannot always be precisely defined and classified, but on the whole they help participants and their organisations to learn, grow and become stronger in their communities and together better address key challenges of our times in Europe, and throughout the world.


Learning and sharing experiences and challenges are perhaps now more important than ever. Has the recent health crisis affected your programs and activities? Will your organisation have to embrace a digital approach to community and donor engagement? Partnering with another CF or CFSOs in framing questions that reinforce your future work and finding common solutions can bring a new sense of energy, inspiration and support from your peers.

In an attempt to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on cross-border exchanges and learning among community foundations in Europe we are adapting the framework of the CF2CF exchanges to include the possibility of online-learning and joint work as well.

However, if you and your partner organisation are situated in neighbouring countries, or countries where you foresee a possibility of travel this year, you can still apply for a regular exchange that involves physical travel.

Specific activities can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Testing or piloting in collaboration with or learning from another CF or CFSO a new practice, approach or strategy (for ex. Digital fundraising or digital governance).
  • Identifying areas of organisational improvement and working together with an external expert, thus saving costs and having the support of a peer organisation to go through the process.
  • Strengthening the evidence base for your community foundation or the community foundation field by doing joint research or documentation (for ex. Impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the resilience of the CFs).

Budget lines can include:

  • International travel costs (with an appropriate substantiation of feasibility for this year)
  • National/regional travel costs
  • Consultant/ facilitator services
  • External collaborators (writers, photo/videographers, translators etc.)
  • Acquisition of software to help online communication, joint work.

CF2CF is open to practitioners from the existing community foundations, promising initiatives and interested groups from countries that do not have this form of community philanthropy but work towards establishing it and also community foundation support organizations. They can be executive directors, staff members, volunteers, founders, or Board members.

Both the applicant organisation and the partner should be located in a European country in a broader sense of Europe as a shared cultural and geographical space. 

All interested organisations must complete the CF2CF application form by 31st July 2022 and all proposed activities by the end of November 2022. 

Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • coherence of the application, quality of reasoning
  • potential contribution to long-term relationship building
  • relevance of proposed agenda for the goals of CF2CF and the current situation
  • quality of the proposed sequence of activities
  • cost-effectiveness

CF2CF exchanges are designed to improve participants’ understanding of other European communities and the work of community foundations by visiting these regions, entering into a fruitful dialogue, learning from each others’ experience and building long-term professional relations and friendships. CF2CF exchanges have the following characteristics:

Number of participants:  Groups of approx. 3-5 people are normally invovled in an exchange OR for 'joint work' numbers can vary according to learning objectives.

Eligible applicants:  Both the applicant and the partner can be located in any European country, applying organization may be only an organization located in a member country in a broader sense of Europe as a shared cultural and geographical space. 

Reciprocal approach: As is typical for an exchange, the learning results are mutual. When possible, we encourage therefore reciprocal visits where the first visit from country A to country B will be followed by a return visit from country B to country A. 

Repeated visits: A CF2CF Exchange is not limited to one time per year and can be repeated within the same exchange agreement.

Emphasis on practice: Participants are community foundation or community foundation support organization practitioners – staff, board members, founders or volunteers.  

Personal initiative: Participating CFs or CFSOs have to decide on a suitable partner themselves. ECFI team can help in identifying possible partners using its networks and contacts.

Reporting:  Program and financial report are required two months after the completion of the final exchange. Please check some example reports posted as a source of inspiration and quality standard. Commitment to communicate on the exchange using variety of media (video, photo, blogs) and channels is strongly encouraged.

The CF2CF exchange on the average lasts 3–5 days, but is not limited to this. We encourage applicants to be creative and make their own suggestions. Likewise, co-funding suggestions are welcome, since the programme can offer a maximum contribution of EUR 4,000 per application.

Cultural differences need to be considered. There also has to be a common language (not necessarily English) that everyone involved knows sufficiently well. Participants are encouraged to communicate about their activities via video blogs, pictures, Twitter or other social media.

For 2022, ECFI has planned to support two or three CF2CF exchanges, depending on the levels of funding requested.

CFs in Europe are a heterogeneous group of philanthropic organizations, although with many common features and characteristics. Diversity in their context, form and function is not only a challenge both practically and intellectually, but also represents potential for learning and advancement for the field. By understanding how others react in a certain situation, we can extend our range of options for similar challenges in our own environment.

At ECFI we are interested in supporting well-thought and good quality exchange program that enhances mutual learning on how community foundations can better address key challenges of our times in their particular contexts.

The CF2CF exchanges are offered to CFs and CFSOs in Europe as a part of the European Community Foundation Initiative (ECFI). The funding has been generously provided by the C.S. Mott Foundation, the Körber Foundation and the Bosch Foundation.