• Amanda Sartor

What the BREXIT Referendum can teach us about Effective Philanthropy

With the shock of the Brexit “leave” vote still filtering through the United Kingdom and the world, the impact of this decision has uncovered some valuable lessons about effective and thoughtful philanthropy.

  • Do your research – the BBC reported on a significant spike in google searches for “What is the EU” AFTER the Leave vote had been announced. This scary statistic put into context the number of voters who made such a powerful decision without understanding what they were voting for. While we never have “enough” time or information to make truly informed decisions, the importance of doing some research in your giving decisions is invaluable. Not only will you actually enjoy it more, but you can really start to understand your social impact. Simply by having a chat with a peer, doing some quick internet searching or reading a charities’ report, can provide the difference between a forgettable and memorable donation.

  • The catalytic effect of one action – the Brexit vote really highlighted the catalytic effect of one simple “YES/NO” action. Scotland is now looking to secede, the value of multi-national companies has plunged and EU countries are seeing the EU as a reversible pact. Philanthropy can also have such catalytic impact, when done thoughtfully. Philanthropists are in the unique position of being able to trial innovative techniques and leverage their dollar further to find a global solution impacting hundreds or even millions of lives. We often forget the importance of Advocacy in Philanthropy; by promoting others to push the status quo and collectively bring people with the same purpose together, we can create significant synergies to truly transform social problems.

  • Listen to the voice of younger generations –as the BREXIT vote will disproportionately impact younger people, philanthropic actions also increasingly impact younger generations – i.e. income equality, climate change and education – just to name a few. In the Brexit vote, 75% of under 25 year olds voted to remain, where as 61% of over 65’s voted to leave, which has resulted in significant resentment by younger UK voters who believe older generations don’t care about how this decision impacts their (long) lives. Philanthropy (and wealth) also sits mostly with older generations yet the impact of our decisions disproportionately affect younger generations. As Philanthropists, we must stop and listen to our children, grandchildren, our neighbour’s kids, school children, and ensure we are supporting and advocating change that is truly in their interests and not just our own. Adding images and videos to your posts is a great way to grab readers’ attention. Writing a text post? You can style it too with bold, italics, quotes & more!