The new type of philanthropist

According to the CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) World Giving Index the world is becoming more and more generous. This organization has been measuring monetary donations, volunteering time and indexes of helping a stranger in 140 countries for 7 years. Just the United Stated alone donated $373.25 billion dollars in 2015, the most generous year ever (no records of 2016).

When we talk about philanthropy it is important to have in mind that we are not talking just about money, people can help in many ways to a good cause: expertise, time, experience, tools, resources, etc. Because even though money can help a lot it is not always a solution. In certain occasions it may solve the problem in the short term, but acts like a barrier for the long run. If philanthropy is addressed this way we can say that it “targets symptoms, not causes”.

I don’t believe that philanthropic aid is enough to solve the social problems we face nowadays, but it can help to reduce it temporarily. I still think that small changes and contributions can have a big impact and as a community we should help those in need. It is important to keep in mind to always have a global and complete solution with a long term vision.

But what happens when donations end?  What if all the donors demand results? Or want to get more involved?

The good news is that there is a new way to help social problems, make money, have long term vision and impact others an it`s called social entrepreneurship. This new way of making business changes problems for opportunities.

The main difference between philanthropy and social entrepreneurship is that this last one aims to be sustainable, empower individuals, re-distribute profit, solve problems with innovation, partner with allies and collaborate with people that are looking for the same objective. I like the vision form Skoll Foundation were they define it as:

“Applying business skills to solve social ills” & “Betting on good people doing good things”.

For example when Bridget Hilton learned that according to the World Health Organization and the UNICEF more than 5,000 children die every day from diseases that could have been avoided by simply washing their hands, she was deeply moved and decided to found Hand in Hand. This company sells soaps in the US and donates one to a child in need. To ensure that the project has a real impact and good hygienic practices continue, Hand in Hand gives workshops to promote this and creates partnerships with local NGOs.

Right now there is a trend that is helping social entrepreneurs:  associations like Ashoca or Skoll Foundation that support all this kind of projects, people and companies that want to make Social Responsible Investments, donators that want more results and sustainable projects in time with profits that can be reinvested. Is the opportunity to think out of the box to solve social problems.

I found refreshing this new proposal. It makes me have hope that there are people with creative solutions that can have a real impact in the social issues we face nowadays and at the same time have profits that can be reinvested and help more and more people.


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