Tuesday, June 08, 2004

A bigger pie

Well, we know that the percentage of income that Americans give hasn't moved much in the last 20-30 years, hovering around 1.8% of gross domestic product every year since 1971 according to Giving USA. And we know that the wealthiest of us give the least (as a percentage of income). A new survey by NewTithing Group finds that if the wealthy gave at the same percentage as the less affluent (1% of income instead of less than 1/2 of 1%) the difference would be almost $42 billion a year in additional funds for charity. No chump change, that.

So, with all the new products and services in philanthropy how come the pie isn't getting that much bigger? What can we do to boost the rates at which Americans give? Maybe this is an issue that the nonprofit and commercial vendors in philanthropy can work on together - increasing the philanthropic capital available to the sector.

We'll talk later about why more isn't enough, and just making the pie bigger won't solve the challenges of philanthropic capital systems, but for now, what ideas might we pursue for making the whole bigger?

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