December 1st 2011
What should a government do to encourage philanthropy and social investment? A look at the 'Big Society' policies in the UK
Philanthropy and government intervention are often viewed as substitutes. The “crowding out” argument in the economic literature suggests that the larger welfare states grow, the smaller private donations become. Hence the idea that philanthropy and the nonprofit sector could replace welfare programs if provided with the appropriate incentives. Since the 2010 general election, the UK government has encouraged such views through the “Big Society” allegory, and sponsored local and community-based programs in order to unleash entrepreneurial spirit in social matters. Yet this policy has been widely criticized as utopian, uncertain, unequal, insincere or even authoritarian. The British example illustrates a universal debate of particular relevance today: What should a government do – if anything – to foster “private initiatives for public good”? How is it possible to boost philanthropy and social investment despite the financial and debt crisis?
November 10th 2011
What does it mean to say that philanthropy is 'strategic'? Perspectives from the Netherlands
For a long time, philanthropy was the sole expression of its donors’ values and charitable intents. Philanthropy was considered valuable insofar it helped to fund important social needs through generous private donations. However, with the growth and modernization of the philanthropic sector, many problems have surfaced with this ‘traditional’ approach in terms of effectiveness, accountability, and legitimacy. Today, a growing number of experts and managers call for a “strategic” philanthropy. What do they mean by that? How can donors and philanthropic advisers craft an effective strategy to channel their funds? How should fundraisers and beneficiaries deal with these new practices?
September 22nd 2011
Is there a 'Rhine model' of philanthropy? How does it translate into impact assessment?
Philanthropy in Europe is not monolithic, as historical and cultural factors have contributed to shape national practices. Differences among European nations in terms of philanthropy can be related to distinctive ideas of what civil society is, and what role it should play between markets and governments. Contrary to its Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Scandinavian counterparts, the “Rhine model” of civil society is characterized by strong, independent organizations who nonetheless act as subcontractors for the welfare state. Competition among nonprofit organizations tends to foster efficiency and citizen choice. How does this "Rhine model" shape philanthropic organizations such as private and corporate foundations? How does it influence the way philanthropy's impact is assessed? What lessons can we draw from it?
May 19th 2011
Que nous apprend le modèle américain pour développer la philanthropie en France ?
La philanthropie est une composante essentielle de la société américaine, et ce depuis ses origines. En dépit de la crise, la philanthropie aux Etats-Unis mobilise toujours plus de 300 milliards de dollars par an, soit environ 2,1% de son PIB. Elle joue un rôle primordial dans l’innovation sociale et la prise en charge de pans entiers de la vie civile américaine (éducation, religion, action sociale, arts et culture…). La philanthropie française, qui se développe aujourd’hui dans un contexte social, culturel et politique très différent des Etats-Unis, peut-elle apprendre des expériences américaines en la matière ? Que nous enseigne le cas particulier de la philanthropie dans le champ de l’éducation et de l’enseignement supérieur ?
Podcast: Listen to the whole seminar