Late last year i was having a catch-up with Dave Moskovitz, the brains behind NZAngels amongst other things, and we were discussing angel philanthropy and he challenged me to start blogging on the subject.  At the time i thought OK and i headed back to the office ready to break out into print.  Half an hour later i figured out this wasn’t going to be a 10 minute blog post.  So the New Year’s trucked in and i thought i’d give it another go.  I will write here in a series about a personal journey into the unknown.  Philanthropy is a subject that i am an absolute babe in arms and something i’m only just starting to explore in any depth in 2009.
That said, 2009 is going to be one gigantic challenge for the charitable sector in New Zealand, with all the major Foundations starting to report material reductions in the amount of cash they have available to give….such is the reality of the financial recession we are now in.  So now more than ever there is a need for us all to stand up and be counted – for those who aren’t active, to make the time and money available and get engaged and see whether we can help fill the breach.
The greatest challenge i’ve faced personally in trying to engage with philanthropy has been to understand FIRST “WHAT DO I BELEIVE IN” and SECOND to then find those causes (amongst the squelions out there) that are THE MOST EFFECTIVE and MOST SUSTAINABLE in achieving those goals.  Both parts of this equation are not easily answered and i’m only just starting to scratch the service of these questions.
What i know so far is that all Angel Philanthropists are different and the choices they make are deeply personal and influenced by their upbringing and experience.  One thing though that does seem to be a constant is they all want to know that THEIR MONEY IS BEING WELL SPENT, and that the organisations they give to CAN MEASURE THEIR PERFORMANCE and REPORT ON PROGRESS.  This simply reflects the backgrounds of Angels – they’re successful business people, they demand high standards, and expect outcomes.  That’s a good thing and something not a lot of charities yet get.
But i’m dodging…the question i posed above was “WHAT DO I BELEIVE IN?”.  So here’s a macro view and then let’s try to break that down…I’m privileged to be in a unique position to be able to MAKE A CONTRIBUTION and haopefully MAKE A DIFFERENCE….SO WHAT?  Well, for me charity begins at home, i’d like to contribute to “MAKING NEW ZEALAND THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO LIVE AND RAISE FAMILIES”  When i put that out there i’ve got some concerns around:

  • social dislocation in parts of New Zealand
  • the seeming break-down of family values and family support systems
  • the unsustainable way that we’ve chosen to live
  • the impact of the recession on people and families who lose employment

So my personal journey around Angel Philanthropy is going to be find ways to contribute to organisations and projects that make progress in addressing these issues. As i said at the start, i’m a babe in arms on this subject, this blog post is me stepping up to the….start line.
PLEASE all advice, comment most welcome.