Philanthropy in The Age of Networked Intelligence

As we enter the networked age philanthropy is going through a profound change. This has big implications for fundraisers and donors alike.  In the old model, not-for-profits sought funds from individuals and institutions. Donors were courted and if successfully seduced, they provided funds, and were thanked.  But today because of a number of factors, most notability the Internet’s slashing of transaction and collaboration costs, charities can now build deep relationships with philanthropists.

Donors today can become more deeply engaged with causes. All parties become part of a network and therefore can view themselves differently. Donors become more like investors in social innovation, and are looking for a return on their investment. Charities can view themselves as participants in complete networks for solving problems, with more sustainable funding.

The theory for this perspective is outlined in my most recent book Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet (co-author Anthony D. Williams). In the book we describe how the industrial age is finally coming to a close, and that the society we are passing on to today’s young people is seriously damaged. But from education and science to new approaches to citizen engagement and democracy, sparkling new initiatives are underway, embracing a new set of principles for the 21st century — collaboration, openness, molecularization, interdependence and integrity.

All five of these principles apply to philanthropy.

Read the full article in AFP Toronto.

Don Tapscott

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Don Tapscott, one of the world's leading authorities on business strategy, is Chairman of Moxie Insight. He was founder and chairman of the international think tank New Paradigm before its acquisition 2007. Read more about Don.