Guidelines

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Introduction
The Foundation pursues social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and research objectives, operating in the areas of aid, healthcare, education and the environment, working with all citizens and operators, with no discrimination on grounds of gender, race, language, religion, political opinion, or personal or social situation.
In particular, the Foundation seeks to intervene in the area of Novara and the rest of Italy, supporting projects that relate to the sick, children and people with disabilities, focusing its attention on medical/scientific research, education and culture. Overseas the Foundation intervenes in regions that are underdeveloped or have suffered national emergencies or other extraordinary events, focusing in particular on situations of suffering, food shortage and education, especially following disasters.
In its work, the Foundation seeks to collaborate with public and private bodies, and Italian and overseas institutions and organisations that pursue similar aims.
Born of the De Agostini Group’s intention to make an important contribution and offer real opportunities to needy and disadvantaged people, the Foundation relies on the Group’s resources and experience to launch projects and develop ideas, including those promoted by third parties. The Foundation’s actions can be outlined as follows.

– The Foundation will operate primarily in the field of social care, research and education. Each year, the Board will determine the amounts to be allocated to each of these areas;
– In its activities, the Foundation seeks to collaborate with public and private bodies, and Italian and foreign institutions and organisations that pursue similar aims to those of the Foundation.

The purpose of this document is to summarise the guidelines used to select organisations applying for projects and the procedures by which the subsequent reporting and monitoring operations are carried out. The Foundation applies these criteria both to third-party projects and to those that it manages directly.
It is therefore necessary to have a procedural standard for effective project management to enable assessment, during the different phases, of the objectives achieved and any changes required.
Introducing a standard format for project monitoring and reporting ensures that all projects have the same structure and include the essential element of clarity in relations between the De Agostini Foundation and the third parties with whom it works.

1. The operating model

The model seeks to explain how the Fondazione De Agostini operates, covering everything from the areas in which it works to the assessment and funding of projects.
The model presented here is divided into eight stages, which guide both the Foundation’s decision-making and operational bodies, and the not-for-profit organisations with which it operates.
The activities included in each phase aim to build a relationship based on transparency and ongoing discussion between the Fondazione De Agostini and the not-for-profit organisation applying for funding, partly with a view to supporting its managerial development, if required.
In addition to funding third-party projects, the Foundation may also act as the promoter of projects that it implements and manages itself, choosing the local organisations and bodies with which to work in order to manage its projects as efficiently as possible.
The Foundation will choose the projects to be supported and the individuals with whom to work independently.
By doing so, the Fondazione De Agostini seeks to combine operations and the grant of funding. By managing projects on the front line it can guarantee:

– the high quality of the projects carried out;
– the proper and transparent use of funds;
– the direct involvement of supporters in projects.

Phase 1 – Study of potential areas of intervention
The three fields in which the Foundation has chosen to operate are: social care, research and education; within these it is important to define exactly which areas and sectors it intends to cover.
In social care, the main area of activity concerns children’s needs: whether they are in difficulty, abandoned, sick, mistreated or disabled or have been removed from their families.
With regard to disabled people, the Foundation’s attention is focused primarily on those with physical disabilities.
In research, the Foundation supports research activities in science and medicine.
In education, the Foundation particularly promotes education at university level.

Phase 2 – Approval of the scope of intervention and guidelines
Within the areas it has defined, the Foundation’s senior management follows precise guidelines that define the type of action and services to be supported. These are identified each year through ongoing research and monitoring activities based on an analysis of written documents, data and statistics, interviews with representatives of the institutions, and talks with bodies and associations working in the field and with professionals and teachers that have expertise in the various areas of interest.

Phase 3 – Contacts with not-for-profit organisations
The Fondazione De Agostini believes that the relationship with these organisations is essential to enable it to best carry out its mission.
For this reason, it supports projects not only financially but also by creating a real partnership with the beneficiary of the funding, establishing a long-lasting relationship via the exchange of knowledge and skills, the provision of consultancy and the monitoring of the effectiveness of interventions.
Through its action, the Fondazione De Agostini also seeks to promote potential collaboration between organisations that operate in the not-for-profit sector.
This sector consists of many different organisations of various sizes that often do not have the opportunity or the incentive to work together, therefore missing out on valuable synergies.
In order to make relations with those applying for support from the Foundation more effective and reliable, assessment criteria must be adopted (both qualitative and quantitative) on the basis of which the Foundation will select the organisations with which to work.
The main elements to be taken into consideration are the following:

  1. Credibility of the institution (based on its history, the quality of its management, track record of success, proven ability to collaborate);

  2. Qualitative and scientific standard of the work previously carried out and its reproducibility over time;

  3. Financial independence once it is up and running;

  4. Significant impact of the institution at local level.

The Foundation assigns a specific score to each of these criteria in order to establish priorities for joint working and a minimum threshold that an organisation must reach in order to work with the Fondazione De Agostini.
In order to ensure that the best assessment is made of the organisation applying to work with the Foundation, the organisation must provide the Foundation with all the necessary information for it to determine whether the above criteria are fulfilled.

Phase 4 – Project definition

If the organisation has presented a project idea that is consistent with the Foundation’s objectives, the project forms (to apply for funding) will be sent and explained in detail. The organisation must use these forms to structure the presentation of the project and indicate the relevant costs.
Preference will be given to projects promoted or managed directly by the Foundation with organisations, bodies and institutions with which a long-lasting partnership can be built and a relationship strengthened over the years. This kind of initiative will be preferred to projects for which the Foundation’s involvement would be marginal or occasional.

Phase 5 – Project assessment
Once the official application for funding has been submitted, the work of assessing the specific project begins. This allows the Fondazione De Agostini, based on the assessment of the Secretary General pursuant to article 8 of the Regulation governing institutional activities, to determine whether the project effectively fulfils the identified need and whether the entity has the skills and abilities to implement it.
The material sent by the organisation is examined, focusing in particular on the clarity of the objectives, the consistency of the strategy and the financial sustainability of the project.
Once any additional information has been obtained from the organisation, the Secretary General draws up a detailed report on the project, as required by article 7 of the Regulation, in which he restates all the information obtained on both the organisation and the project, and highlighting the strengths and any weaknesses.

The projects that have been submitted are examined according to the following assessment criteria:

– importance of the need that it addresses;
– impact of the project on resolving or reducing the problem;
– scientific rigour of the measures;
– measurement of effectiveness;
– sustainability of the project, i.e. ability of the project to be self-supporting when the loan granted by the Foundation ends;
– compatibility with the organisation’s ordinary operations.

The Foundation also assigns a score to these criteria. Added together, these scores produce a value for the project, which is taken into account for the final assessment.

Phase 6 – Funding decision
The selected projects are submitted to the Board of Directors for an assessment of the content and the technical and financial/managerial aspects to be carried out pursuant to article 8 of the Regulation.
Once the project has been approved, the Board approves a funding resolution.
The Secretary General is then given a mandate to sign the contract with the entity, which authorises the funding to be granted.
The organisations are always informed of the Board’s decision, whether positive or negative.

Phase 7 – Preparation of contracts for approved projects
If the Board’s decision is positive, the phase of drawing up and signing the contract begins with a meeting involving the organisation’s Chairman and project manager and the Fondazione De Agostini’s Secretary General.
The purpose of the meeting is to inform the entity of the Board’s decision to fund or support the proposed project and to request any additional information that may be needed to draw up the contract. This sets out all the details of the project and the total funding. In particular, it identifies the various project development stages and, for each one, the funding requirements, interim objectives and procedures for monitoring progress against qualitative and financial/administrative criteria. This enables a funding plan to be drawn up setting out the instalments to be paid following achievement of the stated interim objectives.

Phase 8 – Project launch, funding and monitoring

Once the contract has been signed, the Fondazione De Agostini disburses the first instalment of the funding and the organisation can launch the project.
The monitoring phase begins immediately, enabling the progress of the project to be assessed closely both in terms of quality and results, and from a financial and administrative point of view.
Monitoring consists mainly of checks carried out on the progress of the project and on the achievement of the stated interim and final results, and involves the submission of qualitative reports by the organisation. It also involves checks on the financial aspects of the project based on the organisation’s financial report.
Depending on the project and on the specific conditions obtaining, the Foundation may decide to disburse the funding in a lump sum rather than in instalments.

2. Reporting

Pursuant to article 11 of the Regulation, the organisation must submit a final report on the project (in two copies) to the Foundation within three months of the end of the period to which it refers. In drawing up the report, the organisation must comply with the following guidelines.
The report must be divided into two separate sections:

  1. Project report

  2. Financial report

a) Project report

This must contain an accurate description of the project activities carried out and the results achieved, indicating any changes that became necessary.
Complete data and information on progress must be contained in the report for it to be approved.
b) Financial report
This must consist of an explanatory report on the costs incurred for each individual item and a summary accounting statement.