The world's top 10 innovations in philanthropy

Philanthropic giving is vital to the survival of charities and many social enterprises taking on some of the world’s most complex social and environmental issues.

Innovative philanthropy is the next step – the step that helps bring in more resources and ensures that those resources are used more effectively so that a greater impact is generated.

Foundations, individuals and corporations give billions of pounds towards philanthropic causes every year. In 2013, foundation giving in the US alone amounted to just over $50bn – an increase of 5.7% from the total in 2011

With the help of 18 experts New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) have released a report that brings together 10 of the most innovative ideas and concepts in philanthropy from around the world. Each of the ideas fit into a broader trend – from transparency to collaboration.

In the report NPC define innovation as the “development of a new product, process or approach to enable money to be given or invested more wisely or more easily”.

The top 10

Open Data
1. (US): An online portal with information on funding flows, analysis of need and funding successes and challenges in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.
2. PoweredbyData (Canada): An initiative, which works with funders and governments to create a whole new ecosystem for data collection, analytics and usage in the non-profit world.

3. Glasspockets (US): Glasspockets conduct advocacy work around the importance of transparency and offer practical support for foundations to increase their transparency.

Learning from failure
4. Shell Foundation lessons learned report (UK): An honest and open report tracking the foundation’s successes and failures in achieving scale or sustainability that helps to promote transparency.

Lean philanthropy
5.  Knight Prototype Fund (US): A fund that gives small grants to innovative media and journalism projects to experiment and test ideas.

6. Dasra Giving Circles (India):  A Dasra Giving Circle is made up of 10 Indian Philanthropy Forum members who come together to pool their funding of INR 10 lakhs each, annually for a period of at least 3 years. Collectively they decide on a non profit organisation to fund. Dasra provides the selected organisation with hands-on assistance over the funding period. 

Balancing funder power
7. Edge Fund (UK): A membership body that shares grant decisions with donors, community activists and grantees.

100% impact investing
8. KL Felicitas Foundation (US): A foundation investing 100% of its assets for varying degrees of social or environmental return.

Layered funding
9. Goodstart deal (Australia): A syndicate of multiple investors that converted a for-profit business into a highly effective social enterprise.

Online giving markets
10. (Germany): Online giving platform where donors rate projects.

10 Innovations in Global Philanthropy was co-authored by Plum Lomax and Rachel Wharton for New Philanthropy Capital – an organisation that supports charities and funders through research, training and the sharing of expertise. 


Photo credit: Shelby H