In an uplifting TED Talk, Katherine Fulton challenges the idea of traditional philanthropy and outlines the changing forces that is “Democratizing Philanthropy”. As eloquently put “this is the moment in history where the average person has more power than at any other time” - referring to the power that online interconnectivity and globalisation has for the individual person to make a significant social difference.
Mass Collaboration – the ability of the internet and social media to combine and deliver people’s expertise, skills and opinions worldwide and instantaneously is scary but also incredibly powerful. Online social movements such as “1 Million Women” and “The Giving Pledge” provide a single and powerful voice by enabling people to connect and support collective ideas and actions and drive movements at a regional, national or global level.
Online Philanthropy Marketplace – the surge in popularity and use of online giving websites, microfinance and other social initiatives are another avenue for the “average” person to become part of the solution for a significant social problem. Organisations like KIVA and Global Giving enable donors to support individuals or communities on the other side of the world by providing platforms to encourage and facilitate giving.
Aggregated Giving – (or collective giving) is now one of the fastest growing forms of giving. This extends from the world wealthiest philanthropists joining resources (Buffet and Gates) to the community giving circle, to more formal platforms such as The Funding Network and Community Foundations. Their purpose is to make giving more accessible, engaging and impactful.
Social Investing – or impact investing is becoming another way for those with a business mind to also look to help solve social problems. As Katherine points out “there is a new moral hunger that is growing” in capitalists and entrepreneurs that is catalysing the creation of mixed social and business initiatives such as “Blended Value” “Share Valued” “Venture Philanthropy” “Philanthrocapitalism” – the list goes on.
Even nine years on, these forces are still very much as play and are genuinely shaping how we solve social problems, particularly for “New Gen” philanthropists.