One way of understanding philanthropy is to see it as a regulated industry—that is a basic premise of my writing, my work, my thinking, my blog. Regulation exists in the realm of policy, policy exists in the realm of politics, participation is a core piece of politics and policy (in a democracy). That is my justification for dedicating this post to encouraging you to vote. That and the fact that today is election day and some incredible percentage of your peers have already voted early. According to certain economists, in some places voting “may be equivalent to giving $30,000 - $50,000 to others in expected value and as such is an extremely efficient form of charity.”
I recently read in GOOD Magazine that some ridiculous percentage of college students said they would give up their right to vote for an Apple Ipod Touch. Ouch.
Then I received a newsletter from the Ford Foundation that included the incredible chart below (don’t let the list length fool you—the USA is number 139 in voter participation). Ouch.
On the other hand, we’ve seen incredible increases in voter registration in the US this year, unprecedented turnout in the primaries, and enduring interest in the longest Presidential campaign ever. So make the most of it. Get out and vote. Share your experiences and observations of the process via twitter—as part of the new and cool twittervotereport project. It is a right and a responsibility. Please vote.
Lucy Bernholz is the Founder and President of Blueprint Research & Design, Inc, a strategy consulting firm that helps philanthropic individuals and institutions achieve their missions. She is the publisher of Philanthropy2173, an award winning blog about the business of giving and serves as Executive Producer of The Giving Channel on Fora.tv.