After several years of work in the field of corporate philanthropy, at the end of 2009 Trag has started exploring the area of individual philanthropy by surveying attitudes of the general public. In this way, Trag has gained various insights into the culture of giving in Serbia, citizens’ attitudes, knowledge of giving mechanisms, and their readiness to invest financial means or material goods to initiatives for the public good. Citizens have clearly stated that they wish to give and that they are motivated to donate significant amounts when there is a clear need for it.
Inspired by the results of this survey and wish to raise awareness and solidarity of citizens regarding the importance of philanthropy and individual contributions to the common good, during 2010 and 2011 Trag has conducted the “Penny is not petty – giving hand, joyous heart” campaign. Funds raised during this campaign have been donated to children coming from families with multiple issues, gathered by the Children’s Club “Moonlight” in Subotica
The latest survey on individual and corporate philanthropy in Serbia that Trag conducted at the end of 2012 shows that interest in philanthropy is on the increase but that long term investments in the community are still lacking.
The main findings point out that Serbian citizens still primarily comprehend philanthropy as humanitarian aid and provision of support to socially vulnerable groups and individuals. Representatives of companies on the other hand, although consentient that the primary goal of initiatives for the public good is to aid the endangered, pay considerably greater significance to actions contributing to the general community development. Both citizens and companies agree that current state of philanthropy is dissatisfying, mostly as a consequence of the economic crisis and societal apathy, but they also agree that potential for development exists and that it is necessary to mobilize and stimulate both citizens and companies to participate in philanthropic initiatives through better engagement of media and state, change of legal and fiscal framework, development of transparency and providing feedback on the flow of funds raised to support these actions and their results.
Citizens show a lack of trust towards civil society organizations, especially in matters of financial management, while companies make a distinction between organizations and foundations, showing more trust in the latter. They also expressed readiness to support both organizations and foundations, noting that they should improve their work and transparency, quality of suggested actions, and communication with the business sector beforehand. Trag has used this research to improve its strategy and work in this area. Complete research “Individual and Corporate Philanthropy in Serbia” could be found here.
In the field of individual philanthropy, Trag is implementing programs aiming to support civil society organizations to raise funds and work with individual donors on the local level. For more details please visit Successful fundraising and Perspectives for sustainability pages.Trag is also building its database of individual donors. With their donations to the annual campaign Kindness as a gift, friends of Trag contribute to the implementation of key programs of the foundation as well as specific initiatives such as the one supporting CSOs in flooded areas in 2014. Up until now, more than 200 individuals supported Trag programs, the establishment of its endowment fund, and the recovery of flooded areas. Trag has also introduced the methodology of working with major donors to its work. After conducting the feasibility study, in 2014 Trag launched its first campaign for financial endowment titled Tracing the future to raise USD 250.000 from individual donors for the endowment fund supporting the sustainability of local communities in Serbia.
By raising funds by the end of 2018 we reached our goal set of $ 251.861,00 creating an initial endowment fund of over $ 750.000,00 thanks to the support of the Charles Stuart Mot Foundation, which donated twice the amount raised. Through investment, the fund will increase over the years and provide sustainable support for active and responsible citizens across Serbia who are changing their communities and the whole society for the better.
Inspired by the development of individual philanthropy and significant contribution of citizens to initiatives for the public good, Trag foundation expanded its VIRTUS award to this area and introduced the category for Individual contribution to philanthropy that will be awarded annually from now on. The first laureate of this award is Svetlana Urosevic from Grocka and VIRTUS jury also decided to award special acknowledgment for outstanding contribution to the development of philanthropy in Serbia to Veran Matic, Chairperson of the Board of Fund B92. So far, we have awarded XX winners in this category, and since 2018 we have been giving a special prize to a young philanthropist up to 30 years of age. Should you wish to share your philanthropic experiences with us, or you need information on to whom you may support and in what way, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.