Fundraising Campaigns & Strategic Planning Insights

Emerging Trends Shape the Donor’s Perception and Approach

The changing philanthropic landscape affects the way donors perceive and approach giving

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 Donor Giving

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.

Comparing Generational Differences Transforming Philanthropy

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.

Born 1981 – 2000
Baby Boomers
Born 1946 – 1964

Most are at early stages in their careers or still at school
Most are approaching or in retirement
Est. median charitable giving:$1000
Est. median charitable giving:
56% say their giving is
more spontaneous
72% say their giving is
more planned
Millennials are likely to say their
giving offers a meaningful difference
Baby Boomers are likely to say
giving is part of their personal values or the organization is important to them
43% say trends (three or more)
influence giving
23% say trends (three or more)
influence giving
Millennials will take a global approach
as they grew up in an interconnected
world of travel and global awareness
Baby Boomers are likely to focus
on domestic issues more than international
Top 3 issuesAccess to basic health services (35%)Developing treatment or cures for a disease (34%)Hunger and access to nutritious food (33%)
Top 3 issuesHunger and access to nutritious food (42%)Developing treatment or cures for a disease (40%)Access to basic health services (33%)

Look for the next email from S. Sutton & Associates Inc. in two weeks’ time for more updates and information about philanthropy. We look forward to staying connected and would also love to hear from you! Get in touch and let’s see how we can work together to realize your philanthropic potential.

Complimentary Consultation