Online giving has gone mainstream over 10 years

In 2001, only 4 percent of donors had given online. This year, about 65 percent have given to charity through the Internet.

In 2001, the average donation through the site was $226. But this year the average gift is $73, a change that Network for Good interprets as a sign that online giving has “gone mainstream.”

Just a couple of the comparisons made in a new graphic from Network for Good, a fund-raising and volunteerism Web site that celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.


Super Committee failure could hurt US Nonprofits

Nonprofits could soon face significant cuts in government aid in the wake of Monday’s announcement of an impasse among members of a Congressional committee seeking to close the mounting federal deficit.

The spending curbs will probably affect many federal programs that provide money to nonprofits, says Michael Reinemer, a member of the Healthcare at Home Initiative, a coalition of charities, foundations, associations, and companies that advocate for the disabled.

“We’ve been cut down to the bone,” Mr. Reinemer says of charities that provide home health care. “Given past history, we suspect that we will be a target.”

Meanwhile, many nonprofit leaders are also worried that Congress will continue to debate limits on charity tax breaks for the wealthy.

[The Chronicle of Philanthropy]


Development and Philanthropy in the 21st century

A summit on ‘The Future of Philanthropy and Development in the Pursuit of Well-Beingis underway. The first day opened with a keynote panel discussion involving Jay Naidoo, global chair of GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition), civil society activist, and former businessman, government minister and trade unionist from South Africa, and Marco Mira D’Ercole from the OECD Statistics Directorate.

Naidoo stressed the urgency of the moment. Globally, we are reaching ‘a tipping point’ with a multi-dimensional crisis that combines financial instability with food insecurity, an ecological emergency, rampant urbanization, growing inequality and pervasive poverty. As philanthropy and development players, we need to turn our attention from the ‘supply side to the demand side’, resourcing and facilitating citizen activism for ‘well-being’ and people’s organizations that can claim rights, press for social justice and reclaim human dignity. Currently, we have ‘an army of philanthropists’ (and development bureaucrats) who see development as a linear, ‘sausage-machine’ process, and who have fallen a bit too much in love with the siren call of philanthro-capitalism.

D’Ercole spoke about OECD efforts to move beyond measurement of only economic indicators of human progress. Innovative tools like the OECD Better Life Index are making it possible to gauge human well-being around issues of identity, connections with others, community, capabilities, culture, gender and non-financial forms of inequality. Such innovations open up possibilities to shift the development paradigm, bringing ‘well-being’ to the center of our work in place of narrow, economistic objectives and measures.

In another session Caroline Anstey, a managing director at the World Bank, fresh from the G20 meeting, said that the old balance of world political and economic power is definitely over, and a new development paradigm beyond the worn out ‘aid system’ is needed. We must recognize that private financial flows that can be tapped for development (like remittances from overseas workers) now exceed the total of official aid disbursements.

Former minister of finance in Egypt Samir Radwan cited the example of the ‘Arab Spring’, which shows that economic growth is not enough – the protestors in Egypt were clearly articulating a vision of ‘well-being’ that consists of ‘dignity, freedom and social justice’. The key triggers for uprisings in the Arab countries have been increasingly inequality, lack of jobs, and the lack of job prospects for young people in particular.

[Alliance Magazine]


Bill Gates’ G20 ideas to help the world’s poor

Excerpts of a Washington Post article by Bill Gates:

Fifty years ago, almost 20 million children under the age of 5 died every year. In 2010, the figure was down to 7.6 million. This 60 percent decline in childhood deaths — reflecting advances in agriculture, education, health and sanitation — is compelling evidence of the increasing justice in our world. But the global economic crisis is putting the long-term trend of progress at risk.

I am giving a report Thursday to the heads of the Group of 20 governments, including President Obama, suggesting creative ways for the world to continue investing in development despite fiscal constraints. I hope three key ideas become part of congressional deliberations over the coming weeks.

First, programs funded by U.S. generosity have been a core component of this 50-year project of raising living standards around the world. When the private sector doesn’t have incentive, and poor governments don’t have the money, smart aid pays for breakthrough solutions. Thirty-six cents worth of measles vaccine protects a child for a lifetime.

Second, development isn’t just good for people in poor countries; it’s good for all of us. It used to be that the world was, roughly speaking, one-third rich and two-thirds poor. Now, the number of dynamic, healthy, highly educated countries is much higher, which is a recipe for prosperity. Imagine the world economy without Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico or Turkey. If countries that are currently poor can feed, educate and employ their people, then over time they will contribute to the world economy. On the supply side, they’ll increase the production of key commodities such as food, keeping prices lower. On the demand side, as their citizens are more productive, they’ll become important markets for trade.

Third, the United States is not doing development alone. We spend about 1 percent of our total budget on aid, as do dozens of donor countries.

In my report to the G-20, I’ll make half a dozen recommendations for mobilizing tens of billions of dollars annually from private sources. The African diaspora is sitting on $50 billion in savings that could fund development in their home countries if it were captured through diaspora bonds. If the transaction costs on remittances worldwide were cut from an average of 10 percent to an average of 5 percent, it would unlock $15 billion a year in poor countries. In addition, there are trillions of dollars in sovereign wealth funds, and a portion could be reserved for key infrastructure projects in poor countries.

If we do it right, we can keep shrinking the number of countries where aid is needed to zero.


The World's largest fund-raiser

Warren Buffett has carried his philanthropy to a new extreme and, in the process, sparked a revolution in the world of giving. Through his launch of the Giving Pledge in June 2010, a joint venture with his partner-in-patronage Bill Gates, Buffett has unlocked billions of dollars for philanthropic causes.

The Pledge itself is radical in its simplicity. Its signers have to be billionaires. And they have to promise to give at least half of their fortune to charity during their lifetimes.

So far, 69 billionaires have signed the pledge, representing more than $150 billion in philanthropy. That number is "far more" than he and Gates expected, Buffett says. The signers are wildly diverse in their politics and causes—ranging from fighting cancer and funding Jewish schools to housing orphans in Africa and helping farmers in Appalachia.

Still, they are united in their mission: to inspire the world's wealthy to give a larger percentage of their wealth to charity. It is the world's largest fund-raiser.

"What I'm hoping is that young people 20, 30, 50 years from now might be influenced," Buffett says. "The hope is that our larger population ends up giving a larger proportion of their income to fund philanthropy."

[Read full WSJ article]