ramblings from the hive mind

Disrupting Philanthropy

31 March 2011 | View comments
Damien Austin-Walker

Yesterday I attended an event organized by @karlwilding of NCVO, the Big Society Network, Guardian Voluntary Sector Network and @stevebridger called Disrupting Philanthropy where Lucy Bernholz talked about how new technologies are starting to change our behaviours around giving.

Lucy started with the analogy of the symphony orchestra, an age old system or set of codes that is proven to produce a type of music. But what happens when you apply new technologies, as in the case of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra? Members of the Orchestra were recruited soley by YouTube videos of their performances. With new instruments, new players and new ways of organising the game is the same but the codes are changed.

How does this apply to charitable giving? Lucy talked about how crowdfunding models (like Kickstarter) are changing the funding landscape. How new tools for tracking and measuring (see Tools and Resources for Assessing Social Impact) are changing how we are able to report on and demonstrate impact. And how new technologies through connecting volunteers directly to causes and beneficiaries are enabling us to be more creative and more driven by what we are passionate about.

If your interest is in how all this applies to giving of money then do read this great write up by Jonathan Waddington. However I was most interested in Lucy’s statement that the giving of time is where we are seeing the most creativity in terms of form. Give time, move on.

One great example that Lucy gave is But this example is focussed around crisis response and global development - how can similar methods and tools be applied to local and UK based charitable giving?

One pioneer in the UK is Orange who have today launched their mobile volunteering app called Do Some Good. It’s available only for the iPhone initially but they plan to roll it out to other devices. It’s an app that lets you do bite-size actions in five minutes or less via your mobile. There are currently twelve charitable actions provided by their charity partners (Samaritans, Sustrans, Groundwork UK, CyberMentors, SCAN, Future Morph, Photofoundation, World Clean Air Forest Initiative (WCAFI), Young Foundation, The Geography Collective, Sustainable Restaurant Association and Practical Action) that “let you volunteer at a time and place that suits you.”

The use of mobile technology to aid the giving economy is truely on the rise - will you be downloading the app and giving it a go?

blog comments powered by Disqus