3 trends that are shaping philanthropy’s future

Julie Davitz
Posted by Julie Davitz
Strategic Philanthropy

As our world and cultures change, new challenges arise that call for new solutions. This reality creates an opportunity for innovation, and it’s a space that’s been fertile for many philanthropists around the globe.

Young woman kneeling next to a disabled boy in his wheelchair, encouraging him and patting his arm.What might we expect in the future? I’ve recently blogged about highlights and two big trends from the 2016 BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index, but there are a few promising, forward-looking developments from the same research.

After all, new ways of helping a cause, generating funding, and measuring the results continue to shift as society changes. So I think it’s worth taking a moment to review three future trends on global philanthropy that emerged from the study.

Quantitative approach

The gathering of data and analytics that has become common in the corporations is emerging as a widespread discipline in the world of philanthropy, the study noted. This approach is commonly applied to help determine grant-giving as well as measuring the impact of programs. Some entrepreneurs are even creating dashboards that help them follow how their money is making a difference for their intended recipients.

New ways of funding

It’s no longer just about writing a check. Crowdfunding, online auctions, and social media campaigns are a few of the new ways to raise money. Impact investing has become another way to supply and sustain funding. There’s even a platform for gamers to steer money to philanthropy! I believe we haven’t seen the end of innovation in this area.

Philanthropists resemble startup entrepreneurs

This point may seem obvious after the two above. Many tech entrepreneurs have become active in philanthropy, and their continued presence brings new influences. Good examples include Bill Gates of Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. They add a techie “coolness” to philanthropy – along with problem-solving, vision, and other skills that have succeeded in business – that’s making a difference; I’ve definitely seen it as I interact with donors at conferences or in impact investing communities. The same is true with many millennial philanthropists I’ve encountered: They manage their ventures like startup companies.

All three trends will be interesting to follow in the coming years. And I believe they will help philanthropy grow in effective and relevant ways – for the better of all of us.

For more on the BNP Paribas Philanthropy report, check out this summary and this infographic. Or you can download the full report here.

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