By René Bekkers.

Current concerns among politicians and members of parliament focus on foreign financing of religious organizations, money laundering, and the concentration of power among philanthro-capitalists. It’s hard to predict what their concerns will be after the March election. We had 37 political parties running this year, with 17 being elected, but the nonprofit sector didn’t feature in the various party manifestos.

Within the sector, concerns among organizations reliant on donations include:

  • the public’s growing irritation around fundraising;
  • declining level of confidence (i.e., trust in the charitable sector);
  • limitations imposed on fundraising by telephone (‘do not call me’ policies);
  • lower levels of giving among younger generations;
  • increased competition tied to the entrance of new organizations; and
  • increases in mutual aid and crowdfunding.

Concerns among foundations are about impact measurement and organizational effectiveness, and the lack of regulation of hybrid forms of philanthropic investments, such as impact investing.

A concern of the auditor of fundraising organizations is the low level of confidence or trust in the sector, and the lack of awareness among the general public of the new certification system (“Erkenning”) under which charitable organizations must disclose information about themselves on their websites.

Few people have mentioned the lack of standards for legacy or bequest fundraising, the lack of a payout rule for foundations, the failure to provide global open access to COVID-19 vaccine technology, or the looming cuts in government funding for nonprofit organizations that may be imposed in new austerity measures when the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Personally, amid all these concerns, I find it hard to determine which is the most important issue and who should do what.

René Bekkers is a Professor of Philanthropy at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Bekkers is on Twitter and LinkedIn. Photo of Amsterdam is courtesy of Claudia Lorusso & Unsplash.

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