Back to the future

Scrolling through the archives of this blog - which has been live since July 2002 - I found this post:

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Philanthropy and new capital markets

Organized philanthropy is profoundly unorganized. Those who fund start-ups don't work with those who fund established organizations.Individual donors, who provide the sustaining funds for most nonprofit enterprise (along with the public sector), are disaggregated, poorly organized, and rarely considered as strategic partners by institutional philanthropy.

The attached book outline is a work in progress, focused on how the disparate elements of the philanthropic resource pool - from foundations to individuals - could work together in more effective ways. The roles of knowledge sharing, network building, new infrastructure, and new mechanisms are all discussed. The possibility for deliberately evolving the philanthropic financial markets is emphasized. A new vision of coordinated philanthropic markets is presented for comment and disagreement. It may not be perfect, but it is a viable alternative to the current system and one that stands to better use the trillions of new dollars anticipated in the sector over the next decades.

Five years of blogging. At least two things happened - the book outline referred to above got published in 2004. And, second, the idea of philanthropic capital markets is now pretty well established - even Bill Clinton refers to the "under-organized" markets for charitable giving in his 2007 book Giving. Maybe we are getting somewhere.

1 comment:

The Green Skeptic said...

I've been thinking along similar lines about the social entrepreneurship space since joining Ashoka.

There's Angel investors for SEs (Echoing Green), early stage (Ashoka), and even mezzanine funding (Skoll). Then there's Acumen and Schwab (not yet sure how they fit in).

But is there enough synergy between our investment strategies? Are we working collaboratively to truly find the best of the best (Bill Drayton's 1:10M) and make sure they are adequately funded throughout all stages of their development? Are we providing enough access to management guidance to make sure the SEs can get to scale? Are we giving them access to each other to grease the synergies? And where are the sustainer funders?

It seems perpetually under-organized to me -- and even a bit too competitive. But, I've only been inside the sector for 5 weeks, as opposed to looking at it from outside.