State of Philanthropy in Haiti
Unfortunately, the lack of capacity evident in the Haitian nonprofit sector can be attributed to in part, the failure of international philanthropy to invest in building and maintaining local capacity and knowledge. This problem is compounded by the fact that the largest investments in the country are being made without significant local knowledge, advice, and support, which dramatically widens the capacity, information, and collaboration gaps across all sectors.
Furthermore, in recent years the lack of transparency, accountability, and regulation of philanthropic activities has led to an overall decrease in international investment dollars in Haiti, due to a perceived rise in corruption and misuse of funds. The lack of collaboration and coordination has also produced a project-based, ad-hoc approach to development, where too often donor-driven initiatives and ideas taken precedence over local needs and goals. Much of the philanthropic capital being deployed to Haiti is not directed to or driven by the very populations that it is purported to assist. As a result, many projects are unsustainable, as they have failed to attract local support and failed to build capacity.
While many donors indicate a willingness and interest in working with local organizations, they face multiple obstacles to do effectively including: the lack of organizational capacity of organizations to receive large donations, difficulty in understanding the political, economic and social contexts in which they are giving, problems identifying potential grantees and partners, and difficulty understanding the potential impact of their philanthropy. Not to mention the expense associated with monitoring small grants in difficult to reach rural communities and the legal barriers associated with giving to a non-501C3 (the U.S. registered nonprofit).