Philanthropy: Po-ta-toe, pa-ta-toe?

January 7, 2008 at 6:31 am Leave a comment

Browsing my facebook groups following my last post on FliP, I found and joined the FLiP facebook group. I noticed one of the discussions posted on the topic: ‘Traditional vs. Social Change Philanthropy.’ For the sake of anonymity, the Poster of the topic wrote as follows:

“On the FLiP homepage there is a great article about how, in many respects, traditional philanthropy is actually reinforcing the status quo. In my comment to that article I quoted Martin Luther King Jr, “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropists to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice that make philanthropy necessary.”

What are your thoughts on that? Are too many of us in the nonprofit sector offering programmes that are far too reactive, vs actually examining and addressing the socio-economic issues that require our ‘programmes’?”

This discussion topic is followed by another that asks about philanthropy education programs. And, to my surprise and after some research, there are many, and growing: IUPUI’s Center on Philanthropy, NY University School of Philanthropy, Columbia’s MA in fundraising, Hebrew University of Israel’s M.A. in Community Leadership and Philanthropy Studies, Bay Path College in Massachusett’s M.S. in Non-Profit Management and Philanthropy, St. Mary’s graduate program in Philanthropy and Development, and MORE!  The programs listed include degrees surrounding fundraising, non-profit management, leadership, governance, development, philanthropy and othe-related terms….yet social marketing termed programs still lack.

Upon this brief internet browsing, I reflected on what the definition of ‘philanthropy‘ means. Stay with me for a moment, are the terms philanthropy and social marketing interchangeable? What is this term social-change philanthropy? We’ve been talking a lot about the identity crisis in communications, and it appears that there is some overlap. Social marketing does take in the marketing process, but it is also – as the Facebook Poster said – can be applied to looking at socio-economic issues.

Feel free to share as this thought is still developing….how do the two relate to one another and what does this mean for the field of communications or in the non-profit sector?


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Meet Alexandra Rampy, aka SocialButterfly

I am a social marketing believer, blogger, practitioner, researcher and enthusiast. This site highlights the growing movement of social marketing. Learn more about social marketing and how to be your own socialbutterfly--> here.

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