Philanthropy’s global footprint creates new opportunities

An American concept is growing rapidly in different parts of the world, innovating itself and finding new meaning in new markets. The art and science of philanthropy is now growing faster in regions outside the United States.  According to Penelope Cagney, international fundraising consultant and president of  The Cagney Company, a few trends that are shaping global philanthropy include:

  1. An affluent middle class in emerging markets is now greatly involved in philanthropic giving.  According to monthly giving data tracked by the Big Mac Philanthropy Index, the top three countries engaged in giving the most were Singapore, Hong Kong and India. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index 2012 now ranks Australia as the #1 country in giving, including both monetary gifts and volunteer hours.
  2. The surge in philanthropy in foreign markets is creating a new wave of innovation in method and practice.  A newly published book on Indian philanthropy “Revealing Indian Philanthropy,”  describes how the new Indian rich are taking sophisticated approaches to giving. Planned giving is hot in Japan, Chile raises more than 10% of it’s donations through door to door giving and direct mail is doing well in Australia. Microfinance and telefacing(telephone call and face to face meeting) are widely used in India, while social impact bonds in the UK and fair trade networks in Africa are enriching philanthropic practice in foreign markets.
  3. Alongside, huge NGOs are growing in emerging markets and some like the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee (BRAC) are more creative than counterparts in Western societies.

As the world adapts to more advanced fundraising  here are a few things to watch for:

  1. India’s Companies Bill of 2011 expected to be passed later this year will make India the first country  in the world to introduce a 2% Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. A major proposal seeks to have businesses spend 2 percent of their net profits in CSR initiatives. This will have a profound impact on corporate giving and will also affect the bottom line of multinational companies doing business in India.
  2. More and more emerging markets are now collecting data on philanthropy.
  3. A formal culture of philanthropy is yet to evolve, but giving is taking different forms and shapes in outside countries. These innovations could enrich the practice of philanthropy.
  4. Tactics like the “Giving Pledge” might work in Western markets, but in emerging markets, the super rich may not easily part with their wealth. They will seek newer ways of parting with their wealth.

As newer markets expand their philanthropic initiatives, thought leaders like Cagney have provided their perspectives in books like Global Fundraising: How the World is Changing the Rules of Fundraising. Overall, there is no better time for philanthropy to emerge as an important topic of discussion in international markets.



Big U.S. Firms Take Strategic Approach to Corporate Philanthropy

If you think leaders of philanthropy in big companies are walking wallets, you are grossly mistaken.

Big businesses now have fewer grants, fewer areas of focus and tend to give higher amounts to fewer recipients. Since the recession, big companies have drastically narrowed down their focus areas, according to Margaret M. Coady, Director, Committee on Corporate Philanthropy. Businesses are now taking a strategic approach to corporate philanthropy. Here are some trends and tips about corporate giving among big businesses:

  1. The number one priority for big businesses is employee engagement. They want to partner with organizations that offer authentic, meaningful opportunities for their employees.
  2. Big businesses are looking for deep, honest and complete relationships with non-profit partners.
  3. They want partners who understand where their business is going, what their challenges are. They do not want to hear about their history or grants funded in the past.
  4. If they tell you that a proposal or an idea doesn’t work, do not pester them. Do not return six weeks later with another idea. It will never work.
  5. Big corporate foundation staff do not want to be treated like “wallets with legs.”
  6. Big businesses want value for their brand in engagement opportunities. Their employees live around a powerful brand identity.
  7. When pitching an idea, never suggest what a competing company is doing. They do not care and this is an irritant.
  8. Most corporate foundation leaders spend most of their time developing and strengthening internal and external relationships.
  9. Budget takes top priority in evaluating proposals.
  10. Cold proposals are a waste of time.
  11. Explore matching gifts and donor-advised funds especially when working with companies like Ernst & Young, Morgan Stanley etc.

These thoughts came from Ellen J. Glazerman, Executive Director, Ernst & Young Foundation and Joan Steinberg, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley Foundation at a closing plenary session of a CASE conference on corporate and foundation relations held in New York on June 8, 2012.

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