Thursday, December 13, 2007

Buzzwords everywhere - and here is Buzzword # 8 Endorsement Philanthropy

Embedded Giving is Philanthropy buzzword # 6 for the year 2007.

Here is this week's Marketplace story on embedded giving

Here is today's New York Times story on the topic

And today I'm pleased to announce Buzzword #8 - endorsement philanthropy, which gets a big boost today from The Case Foundation. Here's one story on it. In this latest challenge, the Case Foundation, Parade Magazine, Facebook and others are helping individual donors endorse the causes they support - lending their trust and credibility to the organizations that they care about.

What is endorsement philanthropy? As I introduced this concept in my book in 2004, endorsement philanthropy is when institutions, such as foundations, make a deliberate effort to promote and stand behind the organizations that they have selected to fund. They do this - wisely - for several reasons:
  1. The foundations have done the research and due diligence, by sharing their recommendations they can drive more support to organizations they believe in;
  2. Its one way for foundations to influence "other people's money" - a good thing since no foundation has enough to solve the problems they seek to solve
  3. It saves time for the little giver - who wants to trust where they give, but can't afford the time or resources to do the due diligence themselves
Endorsement philanthropy isn't new - think of all those names on the wall of the museum, the lists of donors in the playbill, and the back pages of almost every nonprofit annual report. But it is taking on some new forms - as in the 21/64 Slingshot Fund, the Case Foundation Challenge and its Guide for Good Giving, New Progressive Coalition's Mutual Funds, Calvert Giving Folios, or GlobalGiving, which presents a donor with several organizations that have all been vetted by the trusted GG brand.

This is a way for donors - big and small - to share the nuances, details, and credibility of quality due diligence. Regular readers know how I feel about the application of free, abundant, easy and USELESS measures such as administrative ratios to guide decision making about charitable choice.

Endorsement philanthropy, wherein a trusted entity shares both its process for decision making and its own decisions, gets some real information to those who can use it. This is an area of great excitement - new developments, such as FasterCures Philanthropy Advisory Service, the Nonprofit Reporter demonstration project, the Hewlett Foundation's focus on sharing information - this is all good. After all, philanthropic financial resources are finite - but real philanthropic knowledge, about what works and how to make a difference - is only valuable if it is used. And the more it is used, the more we will be able to determine what is real knowledge and information, and what is...not.

Endorsement philanthropy, buzzword #8 for 2007.

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