15 June 2020

Operational expenses, COVID-19, cybersecurity among the topics discussed at the Summer meeting of the Operations Professionals Network

The summer 2020 meeting of the EFC Operations Professionals Network (OPN) took place entirely online, bringing together more than 50 participants from 13 international foundations to dive into 10 sessions covering a wide range of operations topics, and discussions underscored by the importance of peer-learning, sharing and coordination, to meet the challenges of the moment.

Some of the highlights of the programme included:

  • A benchmarking exercise on operational expenses, that generated rich data and insights into key operational indicators, and triggered exchanges on the policies and organisational models that inform the data.
  • An exchange among the Chief Operating Officers into the impact of COVID-19 on operations and grantmaking, and how their organisations are responding to support their teams and beneficiaries. The participating COOs exchanged best practices on how they navigated the transition to remote working, and shared concerns regarding the medium and long term effects of COVID-19.
  • A plenary discussion that brought together all 5 OPN subgroups (COO, HR, IT, Finance and Legal) to reflect on how work is changing and what skills will future-proof employees and organisations to further changes. Olivia Chapman, Senior Policy Advisor at Nesta, started the discussion with a presentation on flagship research by the organisation.
  • A joint OPN-Finance and OPN-Legal session on the complex issue of fraud in grantmaking, surfacing peer foundations’ best practices and experiences in combating it.
  • An exchange of OPN-HR group on processes for returning to the office post-COVID-19, allowing members to reflect on how best to navigate the transition, and its impact on HR policies, office culture and collaboration.
  • A deep dive of the OPN-IT subgroup into the key building blocks of a robust cybersecurity strategy and an exchange of practical ways into generating awareness of information security among staff.

For further information contact Stefanos Oikonomou.