Continuing our exploration of what actually happened in 2012, we present here four more predictions made for 2012 and assessments on how they’ve turned out:
2012 Prediction 4: New mechanisms and tools will be developed so as to make giving easier. General increase of e-transactions will influence increase of e-philanthropy (online giving); other tools and mechanisms will also develop including payroll giving and monthly pledges. Promotion of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding mechanisms will increase.
Partially fulfilled. While there has been measurable progress in developing new mechanisms and tools throughout most of the countries, it seems that adoption of the new tools is not yet part of the regular fundraising activities of the organizations.
On a positive note though, organized collaboration between the private sector (telecommunications and banking sectors) and foundation actors have seen progress in three countries: Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia. Examples of this include providing opportunities for online giving to domestic bank card holders, and dedicated websites for crowdfunding being launched in Croatia (www.zadobrobit.hr and www.doniralica.hr) and about to be launched in Macedonia (www.donate.org.mk). In Serbia, Banca Intesa provided easier access to its online ecommerce platform for a limited number of foundations as part of its testing of online giving, and the joint collaboration of foundations is making progress towards creating and launching a crowdfunding platform that will target both Serbian residents and the diaspora.
There was a marked increase in the use of SMS donation numbers used to raise funds for both particular causes as well as for humanitarian or solidarity cases across a number of countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. In Serbia, the three mobile telecom companies came together and agreed upon a unified set of standards for deciding which initiatives are eligible for being offered fee-free SMS donation numbers.
But many challenges remain as foundations chart their course through these new waters: “In Bosnia, even this prediction did not come true. Specifically, we have been trying for two years to start giving using the PayPal service, but still do not have a fully functional account. Specifically, limits have been set on our withdrawals, because they still have not accepted some evidence of our non-profit status. Crowdsourcing as a mechanism is not yet working, but many are using “humanitarian” phone numbers for giving”, says Jasna from BiH. A similar situation is reported from Montenegro: “Just some baby steps made… another expectation to be fulfilled (and focused on) in 2013, especially crowdsourcing”, according to Maja from Montenegro. Drago from Croatia expressed his view that while “new technologies, new tools, and internet giving, unfortunately did not significantly increase, the first question is how to use these new methods and at the same time increase the responsibility of the individual in society and their understanding of their role in philanthropy.”
2012 Prediction 5: Earmarking of philanthropic monies will increase, with two areas particularly strong – social/ humanitarian funding and support to economic activity, entrepreneurship and employment.
Partially fulfilled. This prediction, by and large, seemed to be fulfilled by both foreign government ODA commitments and by domestic government funding of civil society, with an increase in the social/humanitarian type of activities receiving a greater share of the attention in this year of continuing economic crisis and hardship. However, private foundations and fundraising from local sources continued to allocate across multiple sectors, without any clear trends in earmarking.
A sample of the comments includes: “This is true in Croatia, with the latter topic mainly supported by the state government through national and EU programs rather than through the National Foundation (Zaklada),” says Branka from Croatia.
“Interesting, I don’t think this has happened in 2012 in Serbia despite increasingly difficult economic situation. There is a lot of talk, but not as much earmarking for economic activity, entrepreneurship and/or employment. I am not sure if this is just a delay or there is some other reason behind it. It will be interesting to find out what is happening in other countries in the region,” says Mia from Serbia.
2012 Prediction 6: Amounts available through corporate giving will be reduced – at least in the near future. Instead, companies will become more strategic, focus on particular target groups and issues and increase non-financial support, such as products, services and volunteer efforts.
Fulfilled? While likely a prediction that is fulfilled, generally based on anecdotal perceptions about the current economic crisis in the region, many contributors noted that there is little accurate data on corporate giving and since the overall share of corporate donations within the broader philanthropy context is still relatively small. There are some notable bright lights in this area though:
“In Bosnia, this prediction is not relevant, since the amount of corporate donations were still small, so it could not easily be reduced at all. I think just the opposite happened, that corporate giving has increased slightly with the appearance of new corporate donors such as Unicredit Foundation. There has also been an increase in non-financial donations, in the form of goods and services from local companies, in our case, to support a particular project for the benefit of the community to which that company is geographically tied (e.g. donations of building materials, paints, and other materials for the renovation and landscaping and public spaces in the community.)” according to Jasna from BiH.
“In Macedonia, several very good practices of corporate giving emerged in 2012. CIRa, through 4 Tinex supermarket corporate giving funds (education, social issues, health and culture) has provided more than 115 grants (45 to local CSOs) with a total value of 45.000 EUR. The large state-owned power producer ELEM through its CSR program has supported several CSOs across the country. The biggest bank in Macedonia, Komercijalna Banka, in their new CSR strategy has planned several innovative activities for support of local CSOs.” Says Zoran from Macedonia
2012 Prediction 7: Partnerships will become more common – between companies and non-profits, companies and institutions or between all three sectors – in the efforts to respond to the needs in the communities in a more strategic and efficient way.
Fulfilled. This prediction was resoundingly labeled by contributors as being fulfilled, both on a national and local level. A series of national campaigns were noted in Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia as examples of the effectiveness of partnerships that include media and private companies to promote and leverage further giving by citizens and other companies. These partnerships often involve leveraging significant in-kind contributions of creative human resources and media time to strategically target an audience of citizens and companies and spur them to action. However, a number of comments demonstrated that the use of partnerships needs to be greatly expanded in order to achieve the desired impact and the goals of foundations and CSOs. Some examples given include: “Yes, especially at the local level. More and more municipalities are actively looking for partners in non-profit organizations and the business sector in order to put into operation the unused resources. Public-private partnerships are becoming more common.” says Vesna from BiH.
“In the past year we have been developing long-term partnerships and commitments with the corporate sector, and we believe this could be one of the winning strategies towards this goal. Companies are becoming more strategy oriented, and offering them sustainable projects plus media visibility, can bring long-term relationships. On another note, CSOs should be more flexible and creative, and use pro bono services and in-kind contributions from companies to lower the actual budget of the project,” inputs Ana from Serbia
Stay tuned for more next Thursday on the 2012 predictions and how they turned out…