The sky is bright, not falling in

Made the wrong meteorological call today. As wind and rain constitute no excuse for cancelling a promised beach trip to a toddler, I waved off husband and child and settled down to catch up on some work – only for the sun to pop out minutes later and shine with continued brilliance over north Kent all afternoon.

The only bright spot I’ve enjoyed is an email from the director of Philanthropy UK, Susan Mackenzie, who sends this link to the China Philanthropy blog which suggest we’re living in a ‘Chicken Little society’ that is over-egging the scale of the recessionary impact on philanthropy and charitable giving.

Citing research that first appeared in Philanthropy UK’s bi-weekly news bulletin, it notes the lack of empirical evidence for media headlines that suggest the sky is about to fall in. Indeed, one survey cited (the Skoll World Forum Quick Survey on Delegate Economic Outlook) found that only 5.3% of respondents reported feeling “vulnerable” , and 63.2% said they were “able to adapt to the downturn” .

I edit the publications section of the Philanthropy UK newsletter, and am happy to spread the word that you can subscribe for free to both the quarterly newsletter and bi-weekly newsletter at

The China Philanthropy blog also has a post dated 14 April (‘Grrr – Giving in a Bear Market’) which makes a good point about the downturn having a more worrying effect in societies that have a much younger philanthropic market than that found in the US and the UK, where most of the research on any ‘recessionary effect’ is taking place. As they say,

“For nascent philanthropic markets like China, the effect of the downturn could significantly stilt the forward movement of NGOs already short on resources. Continued support from international and local philanthropists is imperative for the health of these organizations”.

A timely reminder for those of us working to strengthen and support the philanthropic sector to remember that our sector is global, and to bear in mind the impact of current events beyond our own doorstep.

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