A number of wealthy philanthropists, a breed of donor often known for trying to keep a low profile, have joined a video-based online venture designed to give philanthropists a voice and change British culture around major giving.
The AmbassadorforPhilanthropy.com website launched today, led by the government’s ambassador for philanthropy Dame Stephanie Shirley. The website features multiple videos from the likes of Big Give founder Alec Reed to young internet entrepreneur David Erasmus (pictured) talking about their lives and philanthropy. Prime Minister Gordon Brown also appears in a film on the site, supporting the venture.
The website claims its raison d’etre as that while charities and Treasury have avenues to voice their concerns and experiences, “philanthropists have no voice”. It is aiming to debunk the idea that British people dislike discussing money and to facilitate a cultural shift that will see major donors speak openly about their giving and passions.
Dame Stephanie sees the website as critical to her newly-created role as ambassador for philanthropy, to be supplemented with a push to get donor-advised funds into banks and the creation of a philanthropists’ summit to advise the government.
Charities can join website
Charities will soon be able to join philanthropists on the site, with the website promising “leading
.orgs worldwide will shortly have the chance to join as members” on the site.
The website promises that charities can participate in discussions, build relationships, update the philanthropists about their work and programmes and secure “significant backing”.
Roberta d'Eustachio, chief of staff for the Ambassador of Philanthropy, said that the site expects a charity/social enterprise membership base “of at least 10,000 organisations worldwide, with the largest slot going to the USA”.
Invitations for members will be sent out in about two months, d’Eustachio told Civil Society, and members will be charged a “modest annual fee” to upload their videos. Companies will also be invited to upload videos to highlight their CSR.
The website is looking to prompt the development of Philanthropists’ Fellowships in numerous countries.