Measuring Philanthropy – First Results Are In!

Philanthropy Posts has launched a new effort, the Catalyst initiative, that is aimed at better understanding the real level of philanthropy and culture of giving in the region.  We believe that instances of philanthropy are underreported and that the culture of giving has begun to awaken once again throughout the Balkans.

Since 1 May, we have been collecting press clippings from 7 countries in the region, to use as one of the inputs into a database on giving that we will be creating over the next 6 months.  While we are still working out the kinks in coding the data we have gained from the press clippings, and trying to sort out how to best analyze the vast quantity of information we have already gathered (more than 1,000 press clippings in 45 days), we decided to give you a snapshot of what we have gathered so far.  

So consider today’s blog the first in a long series of snapshots of what we will be learning over the next few months.

Because the data for both Serbia (479 clippings covering 246 instances) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (90 clippings covering 33 instances) are fully compiled for May, we start with looking only at individual philanthropy in these two countries.

Individual philanthropy came from a variety of sources during May, involving both individuals and groups, celebrities, wealthy people, foreigners and people from the diaspora.  The methods of giving were as diverse as large one-time gifts, collections of smaller gifts, SMS donations, use of credit cards, and fundraising events such as parties, dinners, concerts, outdoor festivals, exhibitions, and sales of handicrafts.

Individual philanthropy accounted for 113 of the 246 recorded instances of philanthropy in Serbia (46%), while it made up 10 of the 33 instances in Bosnia (30%).

While it is impressive that the media coverage of philanthropy was as significant as it was, an improvement that could be made is in reporting on how much was raised/given. In Serbia, only 45 of the 113 instances (40%) reported on the amount raised/given, and in Bosnia this number was even lower, 2 out of 10 instances (20%).

While this tendency in media makes it difficult to accurately track the value of individual gifts, the totals that were reported are impressive indeed…in one month alone, in 2 of the 7 countries in the region, individuals gave the equivalent of 1,296,052 EUR.

Four individuals are responsible for the vast majority of this amount:

1) Milomir Glavčić, from the Serbian diaspora in Canada, gave 1,026,735 EUR (1,400,000 CAD) to the municipality of Kraljevo to construct a bridge that connects the town with the village of Ribnica. See the story on RTS here (B/C/M/S only) as well as a profile and interview with him from March (B/C/M/S only).

2) Milan Popović, a Serbian businessman, gave 150,000 EUR to the B92 Fund’s Battle for Maternity Wards campaign to purchase sterilization apparatus for two health centers – one in Belgrade and the other in Pančevo.

3) Miralem Pjanić, a Bosnian footballer who currently plays with Roma, gave 10,000 EUR towards a campaign to help with the costs of medical treatment for Aldina Saraljić, a 24 year old from the Tuzla area who recently diagnosed with leukemia.

4) An anonymous local entrepreneur from Čačak, Serbia, is spending at least 20,000 EUR to finance the building of a new home for the Planinčić family, as part of the Srce za Decu campaign of the Blic Foundation.

While we should celebrate the giving of these four above individuals, just as inspiring are the below highlights from the gifts of other individuals and groups of people:



  • Igor Burlica, winner of the “Slagalica” quiz, donated his winnings (approx. 500 EUR) to Dragan Panjik, a single father from Berkasovo, Serbia.
  • A student from Novi Sad celebrated his 18th birthday by organizing a charity action among his friends and neighbors with everything donated going to SOS Children’s Village orphanage in Sremska Kamenica. The amount raised was not recorded.
  • A series of fundraising events took place to raise money for medical treatments for Dalida Bebanić, a high schooler from Mostar with a rare tumor. Events included a concert, a hair-cutting event, and a football match.

A new method of catalyzing donations by individuals was created in Bosnia, with users of Banca Instesa Sao Paolo’s Visa Inspire card will see .10 KM (.05 EUR) per transaction donated to Otvorena Mreza during May, June and July.



And this is only the tip of the iceberg related to the individual donations that occured during May in the region. Once we have available to us the full data sets for May, we will present to you further analysis of individual giving, as well as that of corporate and foundation giving for all of the countries of the region.

But this is an exciting and fascinating dipping of our collective toes into the ocean of giving that seems to be taking place all around us!



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Nathan Koeshall