Saturday, December 5, 2009

European Philanthropists Help Charities Become More Entrepreneurial

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that a growing number of European philanthropists are encouraging the charities they support to run more like a businesses during these recessionary times in order to garner their support.

Philanthropic endeavours are usually one of the first things to fall by the wayside when the wealthy are faced with tougher times.

There are no Europewide statistics on philanthropic giving. But trends are likely to mirror what has being happening in the U.S., experts say -- and the picture there isn't good. The American Philanthropic Giving Index, produced by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, revealed giving fell dramatically in the first half of the year. The PGI, similar to a Consumer Confidence Index for charitable giving, is now 64.8, a 21.7% decrease from just six months ago and a 27% decrease since December 2007. The index found that fundraisers' assessment of the current giving environment fell to its lowest level since records began in 1998.

Lena Schreiber, a senior consultant at the London-based consultancy New Philanthropy Capital, believes that the fall in giving has moved across the Atlantic. "Professional advisers tell us that wealthy individuals who may have intended to set up philanthropic foundations are delaying this decision, along with other decisions about their wealth management," she says.

Still, it's not all doom and gloom. Those at the forefront of the industry say many of the wealthy continue to give, but are often looking for a more hands-on approach, demanding greater transparency and a return on their money. Outright giving is being replaced by social investing, and philanthropy is becoming more efficient and entrepreneurial as a consequence.

For the full story, please click here.


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