News & Insight
26th April 2019
Future trends in major philanthropy
Francesca Hewitt, Philanthropy Company Director, shares insight into what the future holds for major philanthropy
At the Institute of Fundraising’s Cultural Sector Network Conference, the talk on future trends in major philanthropy highlighted a number of questions I have been grappling with.
What does it mean for fundraisers that we are moving from working with donors with inherited wealth to donors with earned wealth?
How should we respond to the increased emphasis on place-making and location?
What should our offer be to entice and engage the young generation of philanthropists?
And how can we respond to the increasing scrutiny which charities are under for the sources of their philanthropic income?
While I don’t have all the answers to these, I do have some thoughts to share.
Working with donors with earned wealth feels quite different to donors with inherited wealth. From my experience, the two key characteristics of these kinds of donors is that they are more free to take risks with their giving – making quick decisions on what to donate to – and they are more open to guidance by the professionals on what to support to get the greatest impact and fulfil their philanthropic aims. These donors are also often extremely generous with their giving – we have all heard of The Giving Pledge, which has a value over $350bn, and the Coutts Million Pound Donor Report regularly shows major donations begin placed into Foundations, indicating that donors are getting more strategic about their giving and making more formal, ongoing commitments to major philanthropy.
Engaging younger philanthropists is tricky, particularly for charities in the regions who may feel it is hard to attract or access them in any great number. But we should not forget one of the golden rules of fundraising which is still to be able to tell our cause’s story in a compelling and interesting way, and we should innovate in how we spread our messages (see my blog about digital here).
Charities in the regions actually have a really important role to play in the place-making agenda, and are now fortunately increasingly supported by some public funders, and able to access grants for programmes which benefit less advantaged or minority groups, such as the elderly or people living with physical disabilities. By joining forces in partnerships they can increase their reach and develop ambitiously scaled programmes which help achieve the place-making which funders seek to support.
Finally, scrutiny remains a difficult topic for many. It is always worth having your Board of Trustees agree and articulate in writing their policy on which types of funders they will accept support from and which they will not, such as industries like tobacco. An interesting discussion on giving was aired on the BBC 4’s Moral Maze – Moral Purity.
Philanthropy Company can help you think through how any and all of these issues affect your organisation – do get in touch for an informal and confidential chat.