Everyone wants to know how the economic downturn will affect
their line of work and those in the field of philanthropy are no exception.
Recently, Forbes.com gathered three experts in philanthropy to discuss the
outlook of giving
in a bear market.
So far, foundations have not taken as drastic a hit in their
bank accounts as they have in their psyches. Individual giving is expected to
drop by only 3-4% in 2009, the same as last year. Still, there is a wary “wait
and see” mentality among philanthropists. If U.S. history is any indicator of
present reactions to the Recession, then, “ individual wealth and, accordingly,
individual philanthropy, declined proportionately less than the market,”
reports Betsy Brill of Strategic Philanthropy. But decline it will and, as most
foundations base their giving on donations over a three-year period, the effects
of the economic downturn will not be felt for some time.
To supplement the loss of financial donations, philanthropists must take a more hands-on approach to their giving and strategize creative ways to continue contributing. The article featured several recommendations for philanthropists:
Take stock of your goals. What do you want to achieve with your giving and what organization(s) can best achieve it?
- Assess your wealth. As an individual or family, how can you make the most of what you have?
- What you have is not limited to finances. What is your “human and intellectual capital”? Can you contribute time, talents, or things?
- Collaborate with the organizations you currently support (or want to support). How can you optimize your involvement?
- Think long term. How might your donations
(or lack thereof) affect the future of the organization(s) you support?
Donors have a responsibility to use their money wisely.
Their focus must go beyond the doom and gloom of daily news reports to the positive
effect their resources will have across the globe.
For nascent philanthropic markets like China, the effect of the downturn could significantly stilt the forward movement of NGOs already short on resources. Continued support from international and local philanthropists is imperative for the health of these organizations.