Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

International Committee on Fundraising Organizations
ICFO - association of national monitoring agencies

Dear colleagues and friends of ICFO,

Now on this Christmas Day of 2009, we have had the opportunity to reflect back on this past year. It has been a good year with some expansion of our membership and with new opportunities to participate more broadly on the international stage.

In February we visited Madrid and met with the leadership of
Fundación Lealtad, which we later accepted as a new member. While in Brussels, we met with the leadership of Donorinfo, which we subsequently accepted as a new supporting member of ICFO. While in Brussels we participated in meetings on nonprofit transparency in the context of the fight against terrorism, hosted by the European Commission, Directorate-General, Justice, Security, and Freedom for the Finance Ministers of the European Union countries and a number of invited guests from the third sector and from the European Centre for Non-Profit Law.

In May, we represented ICFO in London, UK at a meeting hosted by the New Philanthropy Capital on measuring impact effectiveness, and in December, we were in Taipei, Taiwan at the International Conference on NPO Accountability 2009: NPO Public Trust, sponsored by our ICFO member, Taiwan NPO Self-Regulatory Alliance and the National Taiwan University.

We have also initiated this blog as a means of interacting on the broader international stage addressing issues that are of interest to the third sector. We have found that the readership of this blog comes from at least 42 different countries, and that the blog is being read in 18 different languages through Google searches and through translation services of blogspot. The blog has generated discussion, primarily through email communications, and we have tried to be responsive to this online discussion in the subjects we have discussed and the treatment of those subjects. Clearly, the European Court of Justice January 2009 decision in the Hein Persche tax case from Germany generated considerable interest, primarily in Europe among members of the EU, lawyers practicing nonprofit law and philanthropy internationally, and academics in universities following the third sector.

Now we face another challenging year. We will continue to follow up on new contacts for potential membership, and the planning for and conduct of our Annual General Membership Meeting on 13 and 14 May 2010 in Toronto, Canada. Again, with security issues and financing of charity activity in the context of globalization and the fight against terrorism, this meeting promises to be an important meeting. As ICFO grows in membership and experiences greater involvement in the civil society movement, and as we consider how we should or will be involved in conducting international assessments of the major international NPOs and NGOs, this new year shapes up to be a busy year for us and for the third sector. All of this occurs as we face natural transitions required by our strategic planning and succession planning.

With such a large and internationally populated organization as ICFO with its constituent membership from around the world, not all, but many of us are religious people who are celebrating Christmas as the birth of Jesus. For all of us, I think, we celebrate Christmas as the symbol of hope, love, and solidarity. After all, those of us in leadership of ICFO are committed to these very ideals.

On behalf of ICFO membership, we wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in 2010

Rollin van Broekhoven (ECFA,
President, ICFO

Martina Ziegerer (ZEWO,
Vice President, ICFO

Burkhard Wilke (DZI,
Secretary General, ICFO

Adri Kemps (CBF.
Treasurer, ICFO

Eva Birath (SFI, www.insamlingskontroll,se

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