Author: Renee Ho
But it is easily how we could describe many private philanthropic foundations. Replace “Europeans” with “Africans”, “South Asians”, and yes, even “Americans”–you get the point– and the analogy seems to hold.
Americans gave $358 billion to charity in 2014.
This includes individuals (72% of total); corporations (5%); foundations (15%); and bequests (8%). This is the highest total in sixty years.
To put this in perspective, this is more than the 2014 GDP of South Africa ($350 billion).
Or, you can see it as the combined 2014 GDP of 20 countries: Senegal, Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Zambia, Uganda, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Bolivia, Honduras, Ghana, Haiti, Niger, Rwanda, Mali, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Liberia, South Sudan, and Guinea-Bissau ($358 billion).
The human population of these countries is about 318 million, combined. This is the same as the total population of the United States in 2014.
It would be like the disenfranchisement of the entire American population.
A lot of private money is going to private charities that are not held accountable by the regular people they seek to help. We want to call these “regular people” citizens, but they are, in fact, not.
Isn’t it about time we let regular people drive what affects them most?
The Center for Effective Philanthropy conducted a survey of nonprofits to understand how many were listening to their beneficiaries. The report finds that 95% of nonprofits collect beneficiary feedback during provision of programs/services.
Kudos to the nonprofits that are collecting feedback in a meaningful and regular way. But let’s not stop with mere collection and let’s be careful with how we use the phrase “beneficiary feedback”. We need to ask: are we using this feedback to improve our policies and programs? Closing the loop is what actually makes people the drivers of change. It’s what might make for real citizens.