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Nathan Koeshall, Co-Founder And Director, Catalyst Balkans

Five Predictions For Balkan Philanthropy In 2022

The last two years have been a watershed moment for Western Balkan philanthropy as individuals and the businesses have responded with an unprecedented solidarity during and throughout the COVID crisis. This outpouring of goodwill has provided an opportunity for the domestic giving ‘marketplace’ to emerge and mature

Looking forward to the coming year, five predictions for how the philanthropy might continue to blossom are offered as we collectively move forward to insure that vulnerable populations are cared for, that innovation is supported, and that culture, education and health care are given the extra support.

INCREASE IN DONATION PAYMENT OPTIONS

As credit and debit card usage rises throughout the region, an increasing number of nonprofits will set up their own e-payment solutions in 2022. Electronic and mobile banking giving will be empowered by the spread of QR code-activated donation solutions. Experiments that link crypto-giving with NFT auctions will begin to be more visible and broadly used.

LAUNCH OF NEW GIVING FUNDS, POOLS, AND ENDOWMENTS

A greater number of ways to give also predicated the need for more collective ways to make a greater impact. Pooled funds and the use of the endowment model will begin to emerge and accumulate to a larger sum that can achieve impact in an area of common interest.

MORE DIVERSITY IN THE CROWDFUNDING SPACE

Not all crowdfunding is philanthropy, but there will continue to be new entrants in the donation- and perk-based crowdfunding space throughout the region, with new platforms scheduled to launch in Serbia, Kosovo, and North Macedonia. Providing citizens and companies with a greater number of campaigns that can be supported gives donors a greater sense of agency in how to direct their giving and helps to make fundraising more transparent.

THE EMERGENCE OF CIVIC AND COMMUNITY-BASED GIVING

There is something valuable when a community rallies around a common idea and gives together to solve a problem. We will be witness to classrooms raising funds for improving their schools, municipalities partnering with citizens to improve public infrastructure, and community-based media and cultural institutions being supported by their audiences to improve the quality of cultural life in their communities. Society takes another step away from the expectation that government is solely responsible for the public good and warms to the idea that civic-citizen partnerships can do more than government or citizens can do on their own.

CONTINUED MIGRATION OF CORPORATE GIVING TO STRATEGIC CAUSES

A trend over the last 4-5 years has been in how the corporate sector has increasingly given to support solutions to problems rather than addressing the symptoms of those problems. Investments in education will be increasingly directed to scholarships that enable students to better concentrate on a quality educational experience, while giving towards healthcare will more and more focus on building the capacity of the health care establishment to diagnose, treat and keep citizens healthy. Companies will begin to give more to address pressing environmental issues like pollution and will work to increase their contributions to the circular economy and lower climate impacts that their core business may contribute to.

2022 is bound to be better than 2021 in many spheres of society, with the domestic philanthropy ecosystem being a particular area where we can look forward to many positive and inspiring changes.

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