Future of Philanthropy

Future of Philanthropy

“Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Philanthropy has always been a part of human society in one form or the other. Although the phenomenal growth philanthropy has shown in the recent times is commendable, the first ever traces of philanthropy dates back to thousands of years ago.

Today, with philanthropy coming to the general masses, the future of philanthropy is no longer in the hands of super-rich people feeding the poor masses across the globe. Today, each one of us is the future of philanthropy.

Philanthropy has existed, in various forms, since the dawn of civilization. But it’s fair to say that charitable donations of this nature have rarely, if ever, faced such a combination of negative pressures precluding the giving of money, time or help by millions of people in economic difficulties. Even though it’s now, more than ever, that such donations are most needed…

In our current economic climate, what exactly does the future hold for Philanthropy? If it’s to remain a viable long-term proposition, there are three key issues which need to be addressed urgently to ensure its future survival, and they are…

  1. A Solid Infrastructure :The days of the rich person running their charity as they see fit are ancient history. In their place has come the pressing need for an interlinked, coherent management and organizational structure, which delivers on its economic and social goals, whilst at the same time sharing its vision of what it wants to achieve and where it intends to go.
  2. Full Economic and Social Accountability: Following the corporate scandals involving companies such as Enron, Worldcom and certain Hedge Funds, the public has become more demanding of its charities.On an economic level, full accounting transparency is no longer an optional extra, it’s essential, in order to reassure donors, governments and the public at large that the charity in question is an upstanding body of the highest moral integrity.

    On the social level, an increased awareness of ‘green’ issues, and the social and environmental costs of business (such as the ‘carbon footprint’), is creating new challenges for philanthropic bodies.

    These two factors will result in additional costs to the charity, something which has to be factored into its long-term strategic planning.

  3. Ability to meet and surpass Ambitious Targets It’s no longer good enough for a charity or philanthropic organization to be ‘worthy’ or ‘doing good’.

    As in the corporate world, charitable bodies will have to justify their existence based on their bottom-line figures.

    They’ll also have to demonstrate the ‘social bottom-line’ effects of their investment, something which is harder to measure, but must be shown to any and all potential donors.