What It Takes.
The greatest leaders are servant-leaders, professionals who promote and support the achievements of others.
                               
        
                               Global Giving

 
The final decades of the 20th century saw a great shift in the social and political geography of the world which created both an opportunity and a need for citizens to become increasingly involved in the political and social lives of their communities, countries, and the world. The growth and development of civil society organizations provided a powerful means for mobilizing such citizen participation. Along with the emergence of civil society organizations came attention on philanthropy, whether as a renewed and regenerated concept, or as a new endeavor based on related traditions.
            Understanding philanthropy as a global practice is essential for two reasons. First, civil society organizations (CSOs) or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as nonprofits are known in much of the world outside of the U.S., have played a critical role in the shaping of local civil society because of the shifting social and political developments, and frequently this progress has been supported and accomplished through philanthropy. Events of the last 25 years, perhaps best seen during the post-Soviet era and the developing democracies in many parts of the world, have caused citizens to push for more self-expression and freedom of expression, for the opportunity to voluntarily gather together for common vision and goals, and for the aid of those in the poorer segments of society.
            Second, understanding international philanthropic practices and traditions helps define cross-cultural philanthropy as population groups migrate and establish a presence in locations other than their countries of origin. Therefore an examination of philanthropy as shaped by culture is valuable for providing a foundation or framework for the practice of giving.
            NGOs are the global recipients of philanthropy and carry out a broad range of services and causes. Nonprofit organizations everywhere are seeing astonishing growth, employing increasing numbers of people, collecting and spending more money than at any previous time.
            The range of international NGO development is impressive. Over 40,000 nonprofits existed in Russia a few years ago. Countries such as Croatia, which has a long-standing tradition of nonprofit activity, are seeing a re-emergence of arts and cultural societies and other traditional NGOs, and also an increase of organizations that meet needs engendered by war. Charitable efforts in Turkey range back to the previous century when foundations were formed for specific causes. Now the face of the Turkish nonprofit sector includes educational institutions, cultural organizations, hospitals, homes and programs for street children. Yugoslavia, now comprised of the two states of Serbia and Montenegro, has seen tremendous growth in refugee causes, but other interests are also in evidence, for example, environmental concerns. In Argentina, while well-known organizations including the Red Cross, Greenpeace and SOS Children’s Villages are prevalent and active, many nonprofit causes such as museums of Jewish history and organizations benefitting the Pampas Indians are part of the NGO movement that began in the early 1980s. China began moving toward NGO ideals as long as 12 years ago when organizations such as science foundations were established.
            “Global philanthropy has expanded and become a supporter of civil society organizations in many parts of the world,” wrote two leading experts in the globalization of foundations and philanthropic giving. “Transnational philanthropy has been and can remain a major force for improving the lives of millions of people worldwide, particularly in regions that are underdeveloped economically and are socially and politically fragile.”[1] Some estimates state that by 2020 philanthropists in many parts of the world will rival the giving by wealthy individuals in the United States. “Indeed, Mario Morino, chairman of Venture Philanthropy Partners, a philanthropic fund in Washington, says a new generation of philanthropists will see themselves as citizens of the world.”[2] As a feature in Newsweek, “Giving Globally,” pointed out, “. . . inspired individuals can take on and conquer some of the world’s biggest problems.”[3] Couple this with giving from many other parts of the world as philanthropy is taking hold in action and not just rhetoric, there is evidence that transnational philanthropy is working and continuing to develop.
            The World Giving Index prepared by the Charities Aid Foundation explains and summarizes charitable behavior globally. “Charitable behavior differs immensely across the globe. An act that is considered charitable in one country may be seen as a regular, everyday, activity in another.”[4] The report clearly shows how countries have their own charitable strengths and weaknesses, and how in some places the growth of civil society has been impeded by war, famine, and other external factors that make philanthropy difficult. The high level of detail in the report explains qualities that appear to affect philanthropy and volunteering, and yet acknowledges that some cultures are more amenable to philanthropic action than others, while at the same time not passing judgment on those that score lower, for whatever reason, in their analysis of giving data.
            Alliance, a magazine that addresses philanthropy and social investment worldwide, has provided a sobering view on what may hinder the success of global philanthropy. In an article titled “Rich need better advice on giving money away,” the argument is made that wealthy donors and would-be donors are finding it difficult to be philanthropic because they lack advice on how and where to give. Increasingly the focus is on outcomes, getting the value for the money invested in a social cause. Therefore there is movement toward strategic philanthropy, which is seen as more effective philanthropy.
            In short, the growth of philanthropy in most parts of the world is becoming much more organized, with experience and advice crossing borders as funders—individuals, corporate, foundations, even governments—seek to ensure that their giving is effective. The idea of promoting civil society through philanthropy, of bringing people together, is attractive everywhere from Slovakia to Brazil. A publication by the Bertelsmann Stiftung (foundation), “Promoting Philanthropy: Global Challenges and Approaches,” focused on issues such as place-based philanthropy, community foundations which are growing in concept and reality around the world, issues-based philanthropy, peer-based philanthropy or collective giving, and the need for professional advisors and donor education.
            Fundraising as a practice is enriched by its proliferation and adaptation across nations and cultures, awareness of cultural issues, sensitivity toward differences, and the expression of a genuine appreciation of our international fundraising professionals’ efforts and achievements.
International understanding enriches the global community of fundraising practitioners; we are truly part of a global system, and therefore fortunate to share in a vast network of knowledge and the knowledgeable who make it happen.
 
Additional Resources:
 
Warren F. Ilchman, Stanley N. Katz, and Edward L. Queen II, Philanthropy in the World’s Traditions (Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 1998).
Lisa Jordan, Global Civil Society: The Oxford Handbook of Civil Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
 
Peter Karoff and Jane Maddox, The World We Want: New Dimensions in Philanthropy and Social Change (Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press with The Philanthropic Initiative, 2007).
 
Bonnie L. Koenig, Going Global for the Greater Good (San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 2004).
Marc Lindenberg and Coralie Bryant, Going Global:  Transforming Relief and Development NGOs (Bloomfield, CT:  Kumarian Press, Inc., 2001).
 
Norine MacDonald and Luc Tayart de Borms, Global Philanthropy (London:  MF Publishing, 2010).
 
Rachel McCleary, Global Compassion (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2009).
 
Jonathon R. Moore, A Practical Guide to International Philanthropy (New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2010).
 
Michael Norton, The Worldwide Fundraiser’s Handbook 3rd  Edition (London:  Directory of Social Change, 2009).
 
Lilya Wagner, and Julio A. Galindo, eds., Global Perspectives on Fundraising. New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising, No. 46 (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc., 2005).
 
[1] Helmut K. Anheier and Siobhan Daly, "Philanthropic Foundations: A New Global Force?” Global Civil Society 2004/5 (London: SAGE Publications Ltd., 2005): 174.
[2] Ian Wilhelm, “Global Philanthropy and Needs Expand,” The Chronicle of Philanthropy (2010), accessed January 23, 2013, http://philanthropy.com/article/Challenge-for-2020-Global-/63626/?forceGen=1.
[3] Mary Carmichael, “A Shot of Hope,” Newsweek, October 1, 2007, 51.
[4] The World Giving Index 2010, Charities Aid Foundation, 2010. 31.
                      
(Click here for January's "Trends for Today and Beyond")site/1/docs/Intro and Giving USA..docx

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