The changing philanthropic landscape affects the way donors perceive and approach giving. The Future of Philanthropy, a report based on a survey of more than 3,200 people who itemized charitable giving for tax purposes, explores how personal giving has evolved and how the future of philanthropy may evolve based on changing perceptions and generational shifts.
Key findings of the report include that donors identify a wide range of social problems, particularly health and hunger, as key social priorities. Giving, however, is seen as just one element in solving these persistent problems. Only three-quarters are somewhat optimistic that their giving can solve the issues most important to them. This tempered response reflects donors’ motivations for giving as well as their perceptions of the complex framework required for social change.
Trends shaping donors’ approaches to giving include transparency, technology and evolving attitudes toward wealth. Donors have a more results-focused approach to philanthropy with 41% saying they have changed their giving due to increased knowledge about nonprofit effectiveness. Technological advances that provide tools for researching and funding charitable projects have influenced 27% of donors to change their approach to giving. A smaller, but still significant, number indicates that trends related to charitable planning, such as donating one’s wealth to charity rather than passing it down to family, have affected their giving.
Who do donors see as key changemakers in society? Nonprofits and public-private partnerships are seen as the most likely to develop real solutions. But donors also believe that religious institutions, universities, businesses and social enterprises have a role to play in solving society’s challenges. Business and individual donors are the two groups that donors think should do more to promote change.
From the table below, you will notice that Millennials share opinions with Baby Boomers on the greatest society challenges (also the top three issues based on the report), but they differ in almost every other respect.
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