The Future of Charities Under The Leadership of Donald J. Trump

Donald Trump and the NGO industryAccording to News Examiner, Donald Trump ranks amongst the least charitable billionaires. From 1990 through to 2009 the blog reports that Trump donated a mere $3.7 million to his Foundation, Donald Trump Foundation.

In comparison to fellow business magnates, Trump’s donations remain minuscule. In May, under pressure from the media, Donald Trump gave $1 million to a nonprofit group helping veterans’ families.  He’s also reported to have pledged to give away royalties from his first book to fight AIDS and multiple sclerosis. But he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter’s ballet school. During his presidential campaign, Trump proclaimed himself an ‘ardent philanthropist’. His detractors took advantage using his donation history as proof that Trump was not as generous as he says.

As the election results trickled in, it became clear that Trump will be the 45th US president. In his concession speech, he vowed to be a great president. But if you consider his ungenerous nature to charities, what do you think would be the NGO’s future under his leadership?

For nonprofits like AmeriCARES, political constraints often work against them. They are challenged on different issues, and when they voice an unfavorable opinion, it may have dire consequences on their work. This gets even worse for NGOs that are linked to religion. A Muslim nonprofit cannot expect to operate smoothly under Donald Trump.

Having said that, in some countries, NGOs serve society better than governments. US nonprofits are known for being good at reacting to human rights abuses, yet fail in solving their own. Today’s change in presidency may impact how most NGOs function. An unfortunate possibility is that some causes that depend on government funding, might have to close their doors.

Indicators that the NGO’s future may be bleak under Trump:

Trump will not be playing the role of provider

If Trump’s proposal on foreign policy is anything to go by, international NGOs servicing foreign countries should not expect much support. Not all Trump’s off the cuff utterances should be expected to pan out. Some of Trump’s rants were a tactic of garnering support.  

Trump’s stance on international relations has been slammed by many foreign policy experts.

President of Eurasia Group and a global research professor at New York University, Ian Brimmer wrote on Politico: ‘He won’t approach problems as if the world’s sole superpower can afford to be generous, to do more so that others can do less. He sees no special responsibility to be magnanimous, or even patient. Being No. 1 doesn’t mean playing the role of provider.’

Brimmer went on to state that, Trump’s promise to eject 11 million undocumented workers from the U.S. and build a wall along the southern border will antagonize millions of Latin-Americans. This may also put an end to all philanthropic investments. Reading all this proves it unlikely that Trump will play the role of provider. If he does, it won’t be on a large scale.

Trump is used to having his way

This is evident in everything he does, especially in how he talks. During the presidential campaign, Trump was seen jumping to a new thought without even finishing his last. He would rely on his eyebrows to finish off an old thought for him. This has been dubbed the ‘Trump’s way of communicating.’ And it has proven to work better than written speeches.

From the same campaigns, some people complained that they found it hard to make sense of what Trump was saying. In order to understand Trump, they have to connect with him on an emotional level. His conversational style is one perfect example of how emotions can still move people to act.

Despite all Trump’s bigoted policies that target religions and foreigners, Americans chose him. Americans consented to Trump’s leadership. What remains to be seen is how far Trump’s way will go in addressing social ills without enough funding for NGOs.

If having Trump’s way won elections, then we can expect more of Trump’s way during his presidential tenure. This includes spending less on social needs and more on his other presidential goals. For example, building a big wall that will distance America from other nations? I am hoping this to be one of Trump’s rants, because building a wall may be a costly exercise in many ways.

Trump will be playing Donald Trump

According to the Atlantic, people like Trump lack what psychologists call agreeableness. It is said that in the USA there’s never been such an overly disagreeable president as Donald Trump. The only president that comes close to Donald Trump is Nixon. Nixon was both tough and pragmatic. Research shows that people scoring low on agreeableness are not only untrustworthy but also tend to lie a lot. Nixon’s dishonesty and deceit are well documented, and this weakness eventually brought him down.

Trump has already demonstrated how much of a liar he can be. He is also not as transparent as Clinton. His plans are not known which should be another red flag for NGOs. Most of his promises to give to charity turned out to be nothing but lies. Can such a leader be trusted to lead with integrity?

The above does not mean charities will not get any funding. Charities will still continue with their good work. What remains to be seen is how much the Trump administration will allocate to charitable spend. Should we expect Trump to fund charities such as CARE, K.I.D.S, Kids Wish Network, USAID, Save Elephants and much more?

New York Times reported that Donald Trump, a seasoned real estate developer-turned-reality television star with no government experience, won the elections to become US president. We all hope that the White House will not be repainted to Donald Trump’s favorite color.  

What are your views on the future of charities under Donald Trump? Your comments are welcome.

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