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The (Ever) Changing Shape of Giving

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
At the rate the world changes, CFM will never run out of work. It’s only four months since we released TrendsWatch 2013, and already my co-author, Phil, and I are scrambling to assemble updates.
This post shares some of the material we’ve compiled recently on the future of philanthropy. We also want to invite you to join us for an Alliance Town Hall webcast on the topic.
Webcast info first: Jacob Harold, CEO of GuideStar, and Laura MacDonald of the Benefactor Group will join me on Thursday, June 13 from 2-3 pm for discussion on the future of philanthropy. Jacob and Laura will share their observations on trends and events shaping giving in the US, and field questions from the online audience. Town Halls are free to individual Alliance members and staff of Museum, Ally and Industry members. Non-member registration fee is $50. You can read more about the Town Hall and register here.
Whether or not you attend the Town Hall, I recommend the following readings related to this topic. (If you are planning to attend the Town Hall, I highly recommend this reading, as we may riff on the content in the discussion, and it may inspire questions you want to lob at our speakers.)
In Ten Legacy Goals of Next Gen Grantmakers Albert Ruesga reports for the Nonprofit Quarterly on a discussion with “younger philanthropic careerists” at a Council on Foundations program, in which he asked them what they hoped to be remembered for in philanthropy. A good brief read. Isn’t it important to know what motivates the next generation of foundation staff?
The Millennium Communications Group recently completed a “Donors of the Future Scan,” identifying 12 key trends in the giving landscape that will drive change. Interesting questions raised by the scan include: Will the concept of endowment be challenges as new donors give preferentially to non-endowment options? Will more philanthropic dollars flow from inside the US to outside projects? Will “flash giving” in response to disasters affect traditional giving? And (related question) will the rise of mobile giving erode place-based philanthropy? A good longer read. Here is a summarywhich contains a link to the full report.
This Forbes article explores What it Means to Be A Philanthropist—Gen Xers and Millennials Weigh In, summarizing results from the Next Gen Donors report. Some of the highlights: These donors want to make a bigger difference, and to integrate social responsibility into their lives, not just their giving. They want to combine social and financial value, sometimes via impact investing. They see their philanthropy as part of their lives, not as something that will happen when they retire. Here is another article on the Next Gen report, this one from the New York Times, focusing on the implications for family foundations.
Finally, this report from the Bridgespan group examines Philanthropy in the New Age of Government Austerity. (It could have been titled “advocacy as a zero sum game,” as government programs of all types compete for an ever-shrinking pool of funds.) The Bridgespan report discusses three approaches philanthropic organizations can use to engage with the government in this climate: investing in government institutions (such as public schools); helping nonprofits attract government funding (by investing in nonprofit capacity); collaborating on government reform.
We will continue to share links to new articles and reports of interest in the weekly e-newsletter Dispatches from the Future of Museums. When I tweet links from @futureofmuseums on this topic, I use the hashtag #philanthropy. (Whenever I can fit that into the tweet, anyway.)
I look forward to discussing millennial donors, family foundations, impact investing and other trends in philanthropy with Jacob, Laura and with you this Thursday!
Yours from the future,
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