For the past half a dozen years, I have been calling myself the Backyard Philanthropist.
Traditionally, philanthropy has been associated with the likes of the Rockefellers and the Fords, Carnegies. In today’s day and age, we have Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and other celebrities who through their financial success are pledging to give their fortune away to causes.
I talk about this a lot; grassroots giving started back in the early 1900’s when the Red Cross raised over $200 million dollars during the war. Reason being? Everyone was affected; mother’s sent their sons to fight, wives lost their husbands, children were born while their father’s were at war. The economy was impacted, the hearts of people were impacted, community was impacted.
It is no surprise that Canada’s 10 biggest charities are somewhat broad in nature but each and everyone can and does impact someone, at some point in time. You’ve got World Vision Canada, United Way, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Sick Kids, Salvation Army, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Red Cross, Plan International, Canadian Unicef and Canadian Diabetes Association.
I doubt you would ever find a niche charitable organization in Canada’s top 10. However, that doesn’t mean that niche organizations can’t and don’t have impact in community and it doesn’t mean that we can’t impact change with our own small change.
So what is Backyard Philanthropy? Exactly what I shared above, small change impacting small change, a redistribution of wealth at a grassroots level. The Wellesley Institute shared a StatsCan report that indicated individuals and businesses donated $11.6 billion. $11.6 billion dollars! That is a lot of money and that equates to a lot of impact.
I have three children and I can’t tell you how many times I have gone out early on a Saturday morning in the pouring rain collecting pop cans to raise money for team uniforms, or new balls, bats. I feel that sometimes, in our world, we give more clout to Bill Gates and Warren Buffet for redistributing their billions in wealth and less to every day individuals, who in Canada, have a $11.6 billion impact.
Recently, there was controversy regarding Nick Hanauer’s TED Talk indicating that it is the middle class that are the job creators not the one percent. I’d would have to say that is the same for nonprofit, charitable dollars…the bulk comes from every day people, in community.
And that is Backyard Philanthropy…every day people, in community, giving of their time, their resources, their acumen to make small change. And we all know that small change adds up to big impact.
Follow me on Twitter and learn more about the many community organizations I meet who are making big impact through small change.