20 May 2013
Why all NPOs should use it
When nonprofit organizations engage in philanthropy they usually receive positive responses from society. The philanthropic activities of these organizations are said to contribute to the social good and benefit the communities they intend to support. However, recent studies have shown that the current top-down approach to strategic philanthropy limits its overall effectiveness, leading to a widening disparity between the amount of money invested in communities and what is actually being accomplished. That is to say, NPOs that simply donate money are actually very disconnected from the communities they intend to support. In addition, their solutions are often short-term focused and could be a lot more effective. What these NPOs need to realize is that their approach falls short in a crucial field, namely that of social justice. They need to apply what has been referred to as a ‘social justice lens’.
Often NPOs have good intentions, but their linear, top-down approaches have often proven ineffective. Instead NPOs should follow a bottom-up approach by placing the needs of the communities as their starting point and design their projects based on these needs. This also relates to the notion of human-centered design on which I have made a previous blog post. Looking at the needs of communities this way is through the above mentioned social justice lens. Social justice implies that NPOs aim to generate radical changes in the existing power structures between donors and communities. The communities should not only be given (financial) support, but mainly the means they need to break free from the traditional relationship with their NPOs. That is to say, in the future they will not need the support of NPOs anymore, because social justice philanthropy has made them independent from NPO support. This focus on social justice will generate better structural long-term solutions for communities and ensures that the money that is donated to the projects is more effectively allocated to the intended purposes. It is thus essential that the technocratic view of social change be replaced by social justice philanthropy.
i-kifu recognizes the significance of a social justice lens in terms of NPOs trying to support communities. Therefore, i-kifu tries to select NPOs that use a bottom-up social justice approach to their projects. That is to say, they are screened by i-kifu if their activities effectively contribute to the long-term social good, and the NPOs are also obliged to post monthly activities reports for their donors. Structural changes are ultimately what communities are helped by the most, as this actually helps them to become self-supporting in the future.
13 May 2013
Statistics in 2010 show that 43 million people around the world are displaced from their homes. War, racism, injustice and discrimination are some of the many reasons why each of the people who find themselves in this situation have been forced to leave their homes.
A vast majority of the refugees remain within the region of their origin, and they are often forced to remain in countries which are poorly equipped to provide them with the required assistance needed.
We were fortunate enough to meet with Jane Best, the CEO of Refugees International Japan (RIJ), an organization supporting refugees all over the world. Currently ikifu showcases two of RIJ’s projects, so we jumped on the opportunity to interview with Jane Best.
Watch the interview with Jane Best:
In their 30 year history, Refugees International Japan has raised over US 7 million to help support projects in almost all regions of the world.
In order to become a successful NPO, you have to provide donors with as much information as possible. Transparency is vital, according to Jane. They frequently receive reports from the projects they support allowing interested donors to easily access all up-to-date information. RIJ has a close relationship with the supported projects and often visit the affected areas to ensure that the donations are distributed where help is needed the most. Some of the most recent visited regions are Uganda, Lebanon and South Sudan.
The RIJ staff consists only of volunteers. The picture below shows some of the volunteers who help out at the office.Currently they are working on selling greeting cards to raise additional funds for some of RIJ’s ongoing projects.
The Greetings card group has been producing and selling the beautiful selections of cards for 30 years. Every year, artists and museums generously donate their work for the card designs. Paper companies kindly donate their products and volunteer designers assist the team with production. Here you can see some of the motifs they are choosing from at the moment.
Currently on i-kifu we display their projects “Building eye Care Clinics for refugees in Chad” and “Providing Baby kits to Burmese mothers in IDP camps.”
RIJ has visited the Burmese IDP camps several times and provided them with baby kits that are sometimes life savers for newborn babies. Jane tells us that their help has been highly appreciated by the women there. She remembers a woman saying “It is nice to know that someone in Japan cares”.
There are more forcibly displaced people today than ever before and RIJ is the right organization to support if you want to make a difference for them. It is rare that a small organization like RIJ gets recognition in the corporate world, but this organization has positive collaborations with companies such as Shell and Virgin Atlantic. They have managed to build up their trust because they can get close up to the refugees in affected areas and they can show donors what difference their contribution is making. Just like i-kifu, they strongly believe that one person can make a change.
Visit Refugee International Japan’s project page on i-kifu to learn more about the organization and find out how you can help.
Ann, Admin and Jason
Interns at i-kifu
- ▼ May (4)
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