Finally getting around to reading The Economist’s “The World in 2013,” the look ahead issue. The article about trends in philanthropy has some interesting ideas (pg 135). The first is a relatively new asset class “the social-impact bond.” Another is this section, which I think all arts professionals should read carefully (earth-shattering no, but important to keep in mind):
“At the end of the 20th century a renewed awareness of global poverty and the new threat of climate change led to a shift to those more pressing causes and away from the arts. (“I don’t give to opera houses,” as Mr Gates put it.) If the 21st century ends with climate change seen off, or successfully adapted to, and poverty largely consigned to the history books, thanks in part to the catalytic role of philanthropy, this recent rend itself may be reversed. By 2113, perhaps philanthropy will no longer be focused on basic needs—job done—but on the arts and other higher things. That would indeed be something to celebrate.” (my italics)
Finally, the article cites the impact of social media on philanthropy: ”Websites that give donors a direct interaction with an individual or community that needs their money will enhance and encourage giving by people with even relatively small sums to put to work. Even more important, the intended beneficiaries will be the ability like never before to give their feedback to donors, and even to shape how giving works.” Like the earlier quote, this reality doesn’t present easy answers for arts presenters, though it’s clearly working for artists (e.g. hundreds Kickstarter success stories).