The 3 basics of philanthropy Blog#3

What does a donor need? In order to answer this question we considered the importance of efficacy and quality singels. But maybe I forgot an essential step: the three basics of philanthropy. In order for a donor to care about philanthropy they should know what it is. Do they? 

Hé! Each month I will upload a new blog series. Each series will have one central subject; the subject of this month is ‘A changing donor’. A series consists out of several separate blogs. This is the third blog of the ‘A changing donor’ series. For the first blog of the series click here.  For the second blog of the series click here. For the outcome of the Mentimeter click here. For a Vlog (in Dutch) about the three basics of philanthropy click here

Philanthropy refers to money right? 

Earlier I asked you on Twitter and LinkedIn to to fill in a MentiMeter to develop a wordcloud of the keywords people thought off while thinking about the word philanthropy. The main keywords mentioned are: money (geld), nonprofits (geode doelen), help (helpen), donation (doneren) and donor (donateur). These replies are interesting because they mirror a misconception related to the word philanthropy. It appears that out of this small group people think that philanthropy mostly relates to donations in the form of money, while philanthropy is so much more than that! So let’s take a step back in this blog and go back to the basics.

The three basics of philantopry: what, how & to which

Philanthropy is a bit of an awkward term, few individuals know what it is (and what it is not: e.g.  a common misconception is that philanthropists are a bunch of rich men). While most individuals (if not all) have been in contact with philanthropy at some point in their lives: either as donor, volunteer or solicitor. Philanthropy is defined as the individual voluntary contribution (money, time, goods expertise) for the benefit of the public good (Payton, 1988). But that is still a wordy description of something so simple and familiar. I can explain it a lot easier by the three basics of philanthropy: the how, what and to which.

A simplified visual presentation of the 3 basics of philanthropy.

What: types of giving

What are we giving? We are giving more than money, even though this is often the most populair one. There are several donation sources: time, providing expertise, goods (Payton, 1988) and body material. When someone donates time we call this volunteering. There are many forms of this type of giving. Another option is to give expertise, which we describe as crowdsourcing (not to confuse with crowdfunding which is donating money online).  You can also think about donating products like clothes or old cell phones. And a final option is to give body materials. This might sound a bit weird but it is not uncommon, think about donating blood. Or the less common version: organs.

How: seven donation sources

When I mention the word ‘donations’ you are likely to think about the classic door-to-door collectes. But there are many sources you can use to give. For instance a charity lottery (e.g. Nationale Postcode Loterij), or charity funds, sponsoring of companies, during church time, legacies. Another option is to make a donation online, like with crowdfunding.

To which: eight donation categories

There are several donation categories: church and philosophy, healthcare, international help, environment, nature, animal care, education and research, culture and arts, sport and recreation, societal care and additional.

The following numbers are based on the Geven in Nederland study out of 2017. Note, the study reports on the giving patters in 2015. The Dutch gave a total 5,731 million euro in 2015. I asked you on Twitter and LinkedIn what you thought was the category that received the highest percentage of the total donation amount. The outcome is depicted below. You indicated that the international help (orange) received the most, while according to the data of Geven in Nederland it is actually on the second place. Church and religion (green) receives the highest amount of money. On the third place: healthcare.

menti2 32tekstantwoorden
Order from left to right: culture, sport and recreation, church and religion, international help, social goals, education and research, nature and animals, healthcare. This figure shows the answers of 32 individuals to the question: what category do you think receives the highest percentage of the total donation amount in the Netherlands. The numbers (1, 2, 3) represent the actual top 3 according to the data of Geven in Nederland.

Church and relgion received the highest percentage: 20% (1,124 million euro’s) of the total donation amount. International help received 15% (843 million euro’s) and healthcare 14% (800 million euro’s).

Unfortunately, research and education receives the lowest amount 243 million euro’s (4%). In the following weeks I will dedicate a whole blog to the potential of philanthropy  for education. For a Dutch description of the importance of philanthropy for education click here. For a description in English, stay tuned!

In the third blog of the series we went back to the basics: the three basics of philanthropy. This side step is important since earlier findings showed that we have a tendency to focus on money and door-to-door collections when we think about philanthropy. However, as you read above philanthropy is so much more than that! We summarized the basics in: the what, how and to which. These show the different types of giving, sources of giving and the donation categories. 



2 thoughts on “The 3 basics of philanthropy Blog#3

Add yours

    1. Hé, thank you for asking this question. Both use an online platform and, as the names imply, focus on a large crowd of individuals. The difference between these two can be explained by looking at the different ‘types of giving’. With crowdsourcing an individual donates expertise (and also time). In the case of crowdfunding, an individual donates money. Cheers, Claire


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