The democratisation of philanthropy

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Peggy Bacon in mid-air backflip, Bondi Beach, ...
A new way of seeing

Katherine Fulton speaks from the heart in this inspiring TED Talk about re-perceiving philanthropy. I heard Katherine speak in San Francisco in 2008 and she was just as inspiring.

Is there “a wrong side of philanthropy?” Is it time to reinvent as the global philanthropy industry emerges?

Philanthropy is not just about money. It is also about time and talent. The democratisation of philanthropy is about what all of us will contribute to the future of philanthropy. We are all capable of making a contribution- how much money we have is immaterial. This is why I find the term “High Net Worth Individual” which is used by many large ‘philanthropic’ organisations so offensive.

Aggregated giving and mass collaboration will shape the future in philanthropy. What assumptions do we make presently that inhibits our ability for innovation?

This is not thinking our way into a new way of acting. Rather, it is acting our way into a new way of thinking.

Last night at the Sydney Opera House I was fortunate to hear David Suzuki speak about his recent work “Legacy” which was evidence of an emergence of a new moral hunger.

We stand at a new frontier to make a difference through our contributions. To reinvent what we understand of ‘philanthropy’ and ‘charity’ we need a new generation of citizen leaders to make this change. It is a question about hope.

What is the story that will be your legacy?


5 thoughts on “The democratisation of philanthropy

    Fay said:
    October 25, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I agree that people are looking for ways of making a difference in all sorts of areas and it’s great how internet talks etc can so easily spread ideas – also interesting how the best ones are referred to you from divergent sources – people are listening and searching.
    But then I think about the David Suzuki talk I attended about a decade ago in Byron Bay – he had 800 people hanging on his every word about the necessity for action in saving the planet – great – until I stayed behind to help clean up and had to pick up the drink bottles and papers these same ‘green’ people had left behind.
    Bring on some mindfulness – and some action – watching passively is not enough. Although perhaps the cut through takes a while.

      10citybridgerun said:
      October 25, 2010 at 9:28 am

      Awesome comment Fay! Serendipitous as I was just writing some notes about Suzuki’s talk last night. Authenticity and cut-through: two big challenges to achieve coincident to each other. Any thoughts?

        Fay said:
        October 25, 2010 at 10:54 am

        I think the Buddhist concepts of compassion and loving-kindness come in here – while we can all feel like shouting at people to wake up sometimes, it’s not actually helpful. If you’re mired in your own miseries it’s hard to take notice of the bigger picture. Modelling the behavior, walking the talk provides more authentic reminders than nagging and connecting in a caring and genuine way wherever possible is the other bit – building those connections which help people feel that someone else empathises, that someone else sees and accepts them as they are right now helps. Feeling judged, feeling inadequate just makes people defensive. We know this, we learned it at kindy, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves. It’s that old ‘be the change you want to see’…the small changes do add up. You never know who is watching.

    Fay said:
    October 25, 2010 at 10:57 am

    ps – I didn’t mean to imply that compassion and loving-kindness are the preserve of Buddhists alone – I meant precepts rather than concepts!

      10citybridgerun said:
      October 25, 2010 at 11:21 am

      I think there are a number of important issues you raise. One is that there are a lot of people striving to make things better. Good comes from all different points of origins. Unconditional love needs no qualification. I am Christian and understood what you were saying. I think all of our actions really make a difference, right across eternity. Destroying the planet is just plain stupid! Looking after each other is basic decency and a human response of compassion. Is that not too much to ask of each other?!

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