Giving in a Financial Crisis

Less money, more need

Since the financial crisis of 2008 and its enduring aftermath, nonprofits have had to wrestle with a trying dichotomy: people have less money to give, but the need for giving is ever greater. Statistics and examples of those statistics are ubiquitous: read Allegra Abramo’s recent post on current US poverty levels, or watch this sobering story from the BBC, reporting on the dramatic increase of people in the UK turning to foodbanks in order to feed themselves and their families. As if the statistics weren’t bad enough, the financial crisis also threatens to incapacitate those who have remained largely unaffected with an insidious weapon: fear. With erratic markets, stagnant house prices, and banks slapping on new charges to an already exhaustive list of customer fees, the reluctance to make financial commitments has perhaps never been greater.

photo credit: Catherine's photo stream on Flikr

The affects of the crisis on nonprofits and philanthropic giving

The statistics concerning the affects of the financial crisis on nonprofits and philanthropic giving are a mixed bag: some dire; some surprisingly optimistic. From as early as 2009 the Institute of Philanthropy reported severe financial losses for major Foundations in the US, whilst also documenting that over 1000 nonprofits in the UK – an unprecedented number – were forced to close within twelve months of the crisis beginning. Worryingly, as recent as this last September, more than a quarter million nonprofits in the US were set to lose their tax-exempt status as a result of them being out of commission. On the giving side of things, earlier this year Philanthropy UK reported that donations from the wealthiest philanthropists dropped by 33%, and that donations to larger nonprofits had dropped by 11%. These last two statistics seem to confirm that the atmosphere of fear surrounding financial commitments has also pervaded philanthropic giving: people with money – even plenty of it – are less willing to give. The fall of 11% also begs the question of whether donors are being turned off by larger nonprofits. Whereas once people might have been more carefree about philanthropic giving and thus comfortable with allowing their donations to end up in the general funds of the more visible and well known organizations, now donors, rightly so, want more control. They desire to know where their donation is going, how much is going where, and they deserve to see the impact their donation makes.

The Jolkona model and its next generation of philanthropists

What, then, of the cases of surprising optimism I mentioned? Enter Jolkona stage left. One of the many remarkable facts about Jolkona is that we were born in the very midst of the financial crisis, June 2009. And one part of Jolkona’s success is centered around the fact that we offer the opportunity to give online, an area of philanthropy that, although only accounts for 10% of giving compared to 90% offline giving (according to a survey carried out by Blackbauk), is showing remarkable popularity. And the other part of Jolkona’s success is that we understand that average donations are modest, which is why we encourage micro-donations. This, then, forms the back bone of our core value: to encourage and empower the next generation of philanthropists through our transparent micro-giving platform.

So if the wealthiest philanthropists of yesteryear are falling short of the mark, then the next generation of philanthropists are donating through Jolkona and are stepping up to the plate, every small donation – every drop of water – at a time. Read this blog post to get a taste of the accomplishments donors made through Jolkona in 2010.

6 ways to give through Jolkona

Here, then, are six great ways you can give through Jolkona:

1. Give to our current Eat Local, Give Global campaign partnered with Bill the Butcher shops.

2. Give to the i4Japan project. See also Kayleigh Maijala’s blog post for more details

3. Give to the up and coming 12 Days of Giving campiagn. More to follow soon! Here’s last year’s campaign page for a flavor.

4. Send a Jolkona Gift Card to your friends, family, or colleagues. You name the quantity, they name the project.

5. Dedicate a gift to someone. You make the donation, they get the proof.

6. Start your own campaign with Jolkona.

If you give, say, $10 to a Jolkona project, then $10, and not a penny less, will go to that project. Always.  What is more, you receive proof of the direct impact your donation has made. Jolkona, therefore, answers boldly to the financial crisis by eliminating distrust from philanthropic giving, and by showing you that your pockets don’t have to be deep to make a difference.




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