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What’s happening in the world of philanthropy?

The Management Centre

Global FundraisingI’ve got a new book out. Global Fundraising – how the world is changing the rules of philanthropy. (Wiley 2013.)
Editing the new book with my friend and colleague Penny Cagney has been a humbling and exciting experience: humbling because, as two experienced fundraising consultants⎯and supposedly internationally savvy fundraisers⎯we were constantly impressed at the extraordinary achievements in fundraising happening outside the North American/European bubble; and exciting because many of those developments seemed to offer innovation or developments that have implications for European and US fundraisers. Just as the economic balance is changing in the world, so the balance in fundraising is changing.

There are some mega trends that are transforming fundraising which we spotted while reviewing the inputs from the skilled and experienced contributors featured in this book. This blog post covers three of them and my next post will cover the other four.

Trend One: There Is a Continuing Growth of Great Wealth and Some of It Is Being Diverted to Philanthropy.
Great wealth is no longer confined to the developed world – but it is still concentrated in a small number of countries. It is also concentrated in the hands of a smaller number of people as global inequalities increase. The inequalities exist in many nations – but they raise some significant challenges in territories like those in the Gulf or nations like Russia where there is a more limited commitment to transparency about how wealth is acquired or distributed. For fundraisers the challenge may not simply be securing funds but ensuring that the funds secured will fit with the value and ethical base of their charity.

Even where charities/NGOs are the preferred channel, the culture of philanthropy needs to take root to enable fundraisers to do their work well. In parallel we need donors to become more effective in how they invest. If not we may see more of the dreadful if well-meaning philanthropic ineptitude of Madonna in Malawi and Oprah Winfrey in South Africa.

Trend Two: Nonprofit Innovations, in Fundraising and Elsewhere, Are No Longer Coming Just from the US or Europe.
There are exciting and challenging innovations growing up in fundraising in India and China and Argentina and Kenya. These innovations are not simply technological, but may relate to recognition of how different cultures can engage in fundraising and philanthropy. By learning about these developments we may inform our own fundraising research.
One good example exists in Thailand where Cabbages and Condoms –

– avoids donor-based fundraising and instead runs commercial businesses to raise cash for its social projects. (And it does so as a conscious and successful choice. BTW I recently had the pleasure to eat there – and the food is good too.) Thanks to its success as a socially engaged business it not only runs a chain of restaurants and a holiday resort but it uses the significant profits generated to pay for education, HIV work, prison reform projects and many more. 

All of these experiments contain important lessons for any fundraiser anywhere in the world.

Trend Three: Indigenous NGOs and NPOs Continue to Grow in Number throughout the World but There Are Some Leviathans Emerging 

As the role of the state is challenged worldwide charities, NPOs (Nonprofit Organizations) and NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) are growing in number and increasingly taking on civil society roles in health, education and social service. So the Red Cross in Kenya has set up and runs a successful ambulance service where the government service is seen as ineffective. This growth – for example numbers of NGOs in the Philippines have grown by 50 percent in the last 10 years – is putting increasing pressure on fundraisers and fundraising to deliver more money for more causes.

At the same time a small number of large INGOs – Save the Children, UNICEF, WorldVision for example – have broken away in growth terms to form a ‘super league’ of agencies able to fundraise and operate almost anywhere in the world.  They have aggressive market entry strategies, significant investment funds, and teams dedicated to setting up and sustaining fundraising domestic operations. To many domestic NGOs these agencies can seem like Wallmart or MacDonalds – a from of unwelcome globalization.
These ‘super league’ agencies can invest in developing new markets and are aggressively doing so. Some markets – Brazil, South Korea, India – represent the fundraising equivalent of BRICs. And just as businesses are flocking to BRICs, so INGOs are flocking to these high growth philanthropic markets.

So, summarized above, are three of the global trends identified by Penny and I during our research for the book.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts – are these three key trends you see or are there other trends you think are developing? Comment below!

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