Trends and Changes in Global Fundraising
FS: What do you feel prevents fundraisers in Europe and North America from having a more rounded, global perspective?
BR: There’s so little information about what’s happening elsewhere. So it’s hard to have a global perspective. Our book gets around this by being written by 20 local experts located around the world.
FS: Briefly, what are the mega-trends discussed in the book?
BR: We cover seven major trends.
- Trend 1: There is a continuing growth of great wealth, and some of it is being diverted to philanthropy. Key issue here is some of it. The Gates/Buffett Pledge hasn’t taken off everywhere. Philanthropy is a mind-set and a habit that has yet to take off everywhere.
- Trend 2: Nonprofit innovations, in fundraising, are no longer coming just from the U.S. or Europe. There are exciting and challenging innovations growing up in fundraising in India and China and Argentina and Kenya. These experiments contain important lessons for any fundraiser anywhere in the world.
- Trend 3: Indigenous NGOs/NPOs continue to grow in number throughout the world, but there are some leviathans emerging. A small number of large international NGOs — Save the Children, UNICEF, World Vision — have broken away in growth terms to form a “super league” of agencies able to fundraise and operate anywhere.
- Trend 4: There is considerable debate worldwide about the role of philanthropy and the role of the state. An increased role for fundraising is being accelerated by the global financial crisis where philanthropy is being asked to do more as governments have reduced funds and seek to do less. This has some downsides.
- Trend 5: Fundraising is becoming more professional and professionalised. The explosion in fundraising has fueled demand for fundraisers. The reality is that there are not enough fundraisers to fill all the posts available. In turn, this has led, in many countries, to significant wage inflation. And a growth in training.
- Trend 6: Everyone is agreed that new and social technologies are important, but they disagree on in what way. So direct mail is still the most effective channel, but no one agrees on how useful Facebook or other online channels is, or might be.
- Trend 7: Philanthropy thrives best when there are codified civil society structures and regulations for nonprofit agencies. Recent high-profile scandals in China, Russia, the U.S. and U.K., and elsewhere have made donors anxious about how effectively money is being used.
FS: What can fundraisers at every level learn from the “charity giants”?
BR: To achieve real impact you need to be able to work at scale. The giants have learned to do this by systematising their processes and transferring skills from one place to another. These are competencies for an agency keen to move from one neighbourhood to another.