What would it take to really get global philanthropy going?

Andrew Milner

In its December 2004 edition, Alliance held a roundtable on increasing global philanthropy with a panel of respondents involved in the field from around the world. From the ensuing debate, two things stood out most clearly: the need to create a new culture of giving among individuals, and the need to make it easier for them to give, both by simplifying the process and by assuring them that their donations are going to reliable groups. Panellists made a number of suggestions on how to do this, ranging from peer influence to the use of internet ‘brokerages’ through which givers could be put in touch with recipients. The potential of tax incentives and diaspora giving were also explored.

These deliberations formed the basis of a subsequent online discussion hosted by Social Edge in February, but by this time a massive new element had been added to the debate – the tsunami. Would it be the stimulus for a new phase of increased global giving, with internet portals playing a key role, or would the massive philanthropic urge subside once the disaster had disappeared from the world’s front pages and from public consciousness? The following is a brief survey of what the discussion participants thought about these and related questions.

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