Saturday, December 18, 2010

Predictions and strategy

Here is a video of Matt Bishop of Philanthrocapitalism fame putting forward his predictions for philanthropy.

His list includes a rise in online citizen philanthropy, bad news for microfinance, rise in impact investing, Steve Jobs signing the Giving Pledge, boom year for education giving, down turn in government aid, and increased awareness of social capital markets. You can compare his calls for the year with my annual list in the Blueprint 2011, the next decade here, and my list of buzzwords from 2010 which sets us up for 2011.

Most interesting, in my opinion, is Bishop's sense there will be more attention on policy issues, not just from big givers but also from the rest of us. This would be a good thing, if it comes to pass.

I'd like to point out that the very fact that Bishop highlights education and maternal health as two "hot areas" for giving in 2011 is indicative of the limits of philanthropy as a solution. Global solutions don't lend themselves to "annual hot lists" - as I noted here. This blog received a comment from a reader that said: Planned giving and philanthropic leadership are the need of the hour as many countries are crisis-ridden."
My response "... I think it is a fallacy to equate anything you would describe as “crisis ridden” with “philanthropy” as a solution. Philanthropy is – by design – episodic, donor directed, temporal, fragmented, decentralized and disaggregated. Not what any people, society, institution, community should expect to be responsible in “crisis ridden” situations."
Those same characteristics shape the kind of impact philanthropy can possible have on ongoing issues such as education and maternal health or whatever the 2012 issues of the year will be. We don't help anyone by pretending otherwise. It's not to say that philanthropy can't make a difference. It is to say that we need develop philanthropic strategies that draw from the strengths of philanthropy and don't burden it with being a long term, equitable, prioritized source of funding or attention.


Jeff Mowatt said...

Yes Lucy, strategy is the key word. Pay attention to Ukraine and the fact that the Davos Philanthropic Roundtable is hosted by an Ukrainian oligarch. This country is our target for a childcare reform strategy based on the profit=for-purpose model of social enterprise.

The primary focus is the plight of disabled and institutionalised children, to place them in safe family enviromnents.

BTW, noting your article for the Guardian about innovation - did you know that the CIC approach was published on the web in 1997 and again in 2004 in a business plan?

Lucy Bernholz said...

Gobsmacked! Here's a discussion about this post happening over at Steve Goldberg's blog -