Category Archives: philanthrocapitalism

Building Private Sector Partnerships in 2017: Five things to know

change ahead

The U.S. has always provided significant leadership for how the world works together to transform issues of disease, poverty, disaster and pursue balanced economic progress.   On both sides of the political divide, Presidents have left their mark. From President Bush’s legacy of PEPFAR to Obama’s White House Office of Social Innovation, the U.S. has acted as a role model and provided much needed guidance on working together to progress a healthier socioeconomic environment for all to prosper in.

This has changed with the new administration and if you’re in charge of seeking funds from the private sector to fuel your international non-profit’s growth, there are five things you need to know that will impact your strategy and revenue projections over the coming years.

The U.S. global agenda is changing, nationalism is settling in.

The new U.S. Administration has very explicitly put forward a message of America First in both rhetoric and in activation of new policies that very clearly indicate we will no longer work WITH other nations on issues

The private sector understands that global business necessitates a more cooperative view but with the U.S. administration engaging in unpredictable and retaliatory behavior, only the very bravest of the private sector will choose to instigate new partnerships under these circumstances.

Assess first and then openly discuss with prospects where their needs and comfort level is in building public private partnerships at this time. Structure your proposals to follow their lead in building an investment strategy that works with their goals and concerns.

Issues around human rights on just about every level are now taking center stage as conservative politics dismantles social services and set up an environment of fear.

Look to conversation and programming inroads that address gender or racial inclusivity, access to healthcare, immigration or the refugee crisis. These issues cross international boundaries and will likely hold new opportunities for your organization to build into current programming.

Conversations will simply take longer.

The Fortune 500 are savvy and have been the first to create sophisticated CSR strategies, many using the concepts in Michael Porter’s Shared Value and over fifty  are following the lead set forth by the UN’s 2016 Sustainable Development Goals. However big investments are press worthy and companies invest at least in part for the publicity.

As companies think about what kind of reputation and favor they want to curry with both their customers and politicians (in charge of regulation), they will likely proceed with caution. Factor this into your cycle of development.

There will be breakout stars.

There are companies run by very smart and very outspoken individuals who may see this new shift in attitude as an opportunity to take a stand. Some, like Howard Schultz of Starbucks, have already shifted their own work policies impacting their funding efforts and others like Lyft, have contributed in the millions in direct response to the administration’s new policies.

Re-strategizing about the your organization’s message and POV in the face of such significant social change could create new conversation starters and funding opportunities.

Multi-nationals with multi-continent customer bases will continue giving at least at the same levels, outside of the U.S.

Some private sector companies choose to diversify their portfolio of giving and have significant funds set aside in other countries. It’s too soon to tell if this will shift giving on a macro-scale but it does suggest that in-country programs may experience opportunistic boosts in funding as overarching philanthropic strategy is re-evaluated.

This seismic shift was not foreseen nor is it necessarily welcome, but ignoring it will have long term financial consequences for those involved in international development.

MDG Mania


It’s going to be a big week in New York City.  With five years left in its charter, the General Assembly of the UN will meet at The Summit on the Millennium Development Goals on September 20-22 to discuss and identify opportunities to accelerate progress of these ambitious, yet critical obligations for our global human welfare.  Across town the Clinton Global Initiative, established just five years ago, will also be holding a conference with its members on the progress they’ve made toward their annual commitments, many of which support the efforts of the MDG’s.  Climate Week kicks off as well – a regrouping of those involved with the disappointing talks in Copenhagen last December. And sprinkled throughout the city, NGO’s will be conducting their own meetings and work sessions to bring business leaders, non-profits and ordinary citizens together to address the critical challenges and requirements necessary at every level of society if we are to meet the goals set to be achieved by 2015.

Continue reading

100 Change-Makers

change-listI came across a blog recently that I hope to see replicated one day by Fast Company, Good, or another change-inspiring publication.  Instead of the Fortune 500, Forbes 100 or even BusinessWeek’s 100 Best Global Brands (thank you Interbrand), Duke Stump of The Northstar Manifesto has created The Real 100.  This list is created of companies and individuals “defined by their ability to spark a revolution of new thought and possibility.”  This list is truly a personal one (I love the fact that Eddy Vedder is on it!), but it covers rich territory.   From B Corporation, to Better Place to Van Jones to Paul Hawken – it addresses thinkers and companies committed to implementing real structural change.

To the next publishers of this list, I would submit that Duke’s list (self-admittedly) leaves out some major players who I hope to see added to the glorified, branded, newly-titled 100 Change-Makers list:

1) The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  With a $U.S. 35.1 billion dollar endowment, the scale of this foundation’s giving and thinking is fueling major reform in global health, education, poverty reduction and access to technology to spark a revolution in philanthrocapitalism.

2) The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Conceived as a public-private partnership financing programs to end these three diseases, it has committed $U.S. 11.4 billion to 550 programs in 136 countries.   As a financier, its role cannot be underestimated in bringing government, science, companies, the health community and its partner organizations together in a collaborative effort to effect the end of these diseases as we know them.

3) Global Giving.  Much has been credited to the for-profit micro-finance efforts of Kiva.  It definitely belongs on the Change-Makers list.  But so does Global Giving.  With a division set up to advise companies on their employee giving, GG is set up to strategically integrate a turn-key giving portal aligned with a well-suited non-profit endeavor that speaks to companies’ cultural ethics and values.  The much bally-hoo’d Wal*Mart PSP set the stage for this endeavor but Global Giving is the mechanism  to mass deliver increased CSR at the employee level.

4) (RED).  Many will disagree with me here.  (RED) has suffered and struggled.  But (RED) was the first brand to attempt to merge the world of consumerism and social responsibility.  It has suffered the way many pioneering concepts do.   But, it was the first model of its kind and it deserves credit for the revenue its generated on behalf of AIDS (US$ 120 million so far).  (RED) has hit some bumps in the road but I’m looking forward to its next steps.

iPhone as fundraiser

iphone1Is there anything the iPhone can’t do?

Shazam figures out what song you’re listening to.  A pocket flashlight (not to mention a light saber) is only two taps away.  And Yelp can get the phone number, directions and even a review of the place you’re trying to find and meet your friends at in a quarter of the time directory assistance, Safari, Google or any mapping software can do it.

So, why wouldn’t our love affair with the iPhone help us make the world a better place?  Why wouldn’t our obsessive usage create perfect opportunities for capturing micro-donation portals to make contributions to the micro-finance or giving sites of Kiva or Global Giving?  What about a carbon calculator that lets you immediately link to an offset purchase equivalent to the inquiry? It would seem that millions of tiny donations could add up to lots of impact.    It seems possible, and even more so fun.  But does it really add up to a smart fundraising play?

Part of what makes the iPhone so magnetic (and what Apple is famous for) is the sheer simplicity, intuitiveness and delight you experience when you begin interfacing with each of the singular functions that each application features.  Mostly they are personal devices for entertainment or utility.  They draw you to your phone because you either need the info or you need a time killer.  The apps are sexy brilliant in their use of the technology and the format.  Every time we download a new app, we are sucked in, at least for a short time period.

The challenge for social ventures to monetize applications will be to determine if there is a big enough audience at the intersection of 1) organization loyalists and 2) iPhone enthusiasts.   This will require some thoughtful creativity and long-term dedication on behalf of the organization.  Which is to say that creating an iPhone app alone is only one piece of the equation –  how each app gets marketed and updated will be critical to its effectiveness.
Continue reading