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Whenever I leave Turkey, I can't stop myself comparing everything to home. The things I compare the most are related to my work.
The United States and Turkey are completely different when it comes to the nonprofit sector. The conditions that created and expanded the nonprofit sector in the U.S. are non-existent, inconsistent or immature in Turkey. Naturally I cannot explain all the differences and similarities in the nonprofit sectors of the two countries in this post, but I wanted to share a few insights and observations that caught my attention.
Let's start with terminology. First, we do not use the term “nonprofit organization”; we use “civil society organization” or “non-governmental organization” instead. Secondly, we do not use the term “sector,” we use words such as area, arena, and field. Why? In the United Sates, the nonprofit sector is not so different from the private sector in terms of professionalism and organizational structures. The two are, however, extremely different in Turkey, and nonprofit organizations avoid using any term that will associate them with the for-profit sector such as “sector”, “client” and “marketing”. The Turkish “nonprofit sector” has its own terminology.
According to the Charities Aid Foundation's (CAF) Global Giving Index 2013, the U.S. ranks first while Turkey ranks 128th out of 135 countries.*
|CAF 2013||Ranking||Helping a stranger||Donating money to
|United States of
Even the small chart above says a lot about the significant difference between two countries, but here are some other points that I have observed:
My inner voice not only compares, but also keeps asking why. I try to understand the similarities and differences because I believe the more we analyze, the more it is likely to find ways for improvement and development.
Derya Kaya is a Fulbright Hubert H. Humphrey fellow from Turkey at ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is experienced in several areas of the nonprofit sector, having worked as a development professional, social entrepreneur, volunteer and activist in her country for almost 10 years. She works for Women for Women’s Human Rights-New Ways, a nongovernmental organization that promotes gender equality and women’s human rights.
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