On Tuesday 26th February CAF released a short concept paper called Future World Giving: Unlocking the Potential of Global Philanthropy. This document highlights the potential growth of philanthropy and sets out the factors which governments must address in order to reach that potential. It suggests that if the newly affluent middle classes and the rich in emerging economies were to give as generously as in established philanthropic societies we could see a new golden age of giving. The Future World Giving project will seek to define a framework of recommendations to governments that if implemented could bring about this step change in global philanthropy.
Central to the concept of the Future World Giving project is the idea of measurement and comparison. We know from our experience of publishing the World Giving Index, the world’s largest survey of philanthropic engagement, that benchmarking charitable performance can have a positive influence. For example the Malaysian government Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek cited his country’s low ranking for volunteering in establishing the 1Malaysia Corps, an umbrella body for volunteer organisations.
But whilst ranking engagement in philanthropy helps to identify the need for improvement, it does not suggest a corresponding solution. By creating a framework of recommended actions for governments, the Future World Giving project will enable politicians and activists alike to assess how conducive the conditions for philanthropy in their country are and what needs to be done to improve them. By separating these recommendations into tiers the Future World Giving Framework will create standards to aim for and definitive actions to be taken to achieve them.
On the 26th of February we launched the project at a parliamentary event, Chaired by the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd and attended by parliamentarians, academics and civil society representatives. We invited attendees to give us feedback on our project and received a lot of support for the concept. Attendees also gave us some very valuable advice and guidance which we will be taking into account as we continue to develop the project.
Delegates at the event felt that before making recommendations to governments for improving the conditions for giving, we should first explain the benefits to society of developing philanthropy. Contributors felt that this would allow for the recognition of factors such as wellbeing and community cohesion and wider social value gains when thinking about philanthropy. There was also a consensus amongst attendees that the Future World Giving project should be framed using terms which are universally understood rather than technical or academic shorthand. It was suggested for example that “accountability and transparency” could be replaced with “trust” and that “incentivisation” could be replaced with “motivating giving”.
This early opportunity to allow people to feed in ideas to our project was extremely valuable. Indeed, the success of the Future World Giving project will depend, perhaps more than any other CAF project to date, on how effective we are at engaging philanthropy experts, donors and civil society practitioners around the world. We will need to take advantage of the fact that we are an international organisation by engaging our offices in Brazil, the USA, South Africa, Bulgaria, Russia, Singapore, Australia and India but we will also need to engage in wider international networks to ensure our work is as representative as possible.
Over the coming year we will hold three thematic events in the UK (and in some of our international office locations) and three reports in which will establish clear recommendations for governments to facilitate sustainable philanthropic growth. These recommendations will form the content for the Future World Giving Framework which will accompany the World Giving Index 2013.
This is an exciting and ambitious project. The prize is the prospect that rapid economic development could lead to a new golden age in global philanthropy.