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The year ahead for philanthropy

In every industry there is a phase that is marked by great turbulence and change. It’s hard to predict the outcome of the change while one is in the midst of it. However, we can be sure that the philanthropy sector is currently facing great changes from the outside. The assumption that NGOs are the solution to a social problems is being challenged by those who see NGOs as a last-mile delivery mechanism or a way of reaching the unreached. NGOs in turn are also responding to the changing paradigm in their own ways. Many of these factors complement each other, and have a cumulative impact on the non-profit sector and expectations from it. Here are factors that will change charity in 2016:

  • Big donors who want causes, not charities: Mark Zuckerberg is giving away money! Will charities benefit? Ultra-rich donors like Bill Gates and new entrant Mark Zuckerberg are not looking to fund charities. They’d rather look at the root cause of a social problem and engineer a solution that can best address the problem. It marks a shift from philanthropists writing out to cheques to hospitals to indefinitely fund operations. It’s a new market-based ideology that is not averse to alliances with unlikely bedfellows to provide solutions. In India, many of the ultra-rich like Azim Premji, Narayana Murthy, Ratan Tata and others route money through their own foundations, with existing NGOs receiving funds from those entities. At the same time, Tata believes in funding low-cost technological innovations (like the X-Prize) that can improve the lives of the poor. Not all of tomorrow's philanthropists are going to be signing cheques to existing NGOs.
  • A FitBit for your donations?: When you sign in to Facebook, you receive notifications of new messages, new friend requests and new updates. How about if you got notifications of how much impact your donations have had? There is now a move towards measuring and reporting NGO work in a manner that helps donors decode what is achieved with their money. Movements like ‘The Life You Can Save’ have pioneered this approach. Their 'Impact Calculator' shows you how many individuals you can impact for each dollar donated. For example, they estimate that donating Rs1000 to their chosen charity can provide 58 people with food-based micronutrient supplements for a year. The combination of data and the ease of giving online will transform the way donors look at donations. At HelpYourNGO, we're very excited by these developments. We started off by making data about NGOs more transparent and accessible. We're working on making giving easier next year. Watch this space for more!

In India:

Indian non-profits are looking at a changed playing field in 2016.

2016 marks a year that will herald great changes for charities. In the future, it will no longer be business as usual for charities!

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