Trends in Philanthropy with Jacky Alling

Sep 26, 2022


Written by Jacky Alling,
SVPAZ Co-Board Chair & Senior Fellow for Philanthropy
ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation

Our world is constantly changing in monumental ways (global pandemic, natural disasters, and uh, hello – recession?) Those changes impact every sector in our world including philanthropy. It is important to reflect on some emerging trends in philanthropy as we seek to take the work of Social Venture Partners AZ into the future. As SVP looks back on its last twenty years of impact in Arizona, we need to look ahead and ask, “how do we use this data to improve our community investment model?” “What is missing?”  “Who is missing? ” At our recent partner event, we discussed several of those key trends and what they might mean for our giving and impact in the next twenty years.

What are some of those top trends?

A key trend reported in the USA Giving Reports 2021 and 2022 is that Americans are giving more.

Individual giving as a category has continued to grow over other forms of giving (foundations, corporate philanthropy, etc.) over the last several years. However, the number of households participating in charitable giving has gone down. That means more single large donors are influencing this number. Therefore, potentially the “wealth gap is becoming a giving gap.” (Moody, 2019)

Looking at this trend, one can say, more charitable money is more money for nonprofits. Does it matter if it is coming from fewer sources? On the downside, charitable gifts from fewer sources potentially place nonprofits at risk of greater dependence on a handful of funders. It also could make them more vulnerable to focusing on a narrower range of priorities as influenced by a few wealthy donors. There is a worry that this could amplify power dynamics in an unhealthy way.

“Power Dynamics in Philanthropy” is a topic we will be exploring more at our next SVP Fall Education event, on November 16th. SVPAZ hopes to see YOU there!

Sign Up for the “Power Dynamics in Philanthropy” Education Event

On the other hand, another top trend is that the definition of philanthropy is expanding.

Lucy Bernholtz, the author of “How We Give Now, A Philanthropic Guide for the Rest of Us,” writes about the myriad of powerful ways that ‘everyday people’ give back including donating their personal data. The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation hosted Lucy in a virtual conference with local panelists that represented several diverse giving circles and philanthropic models in Arizona. These models include the giving of treasure, time, talent, and testimony. SVP was represented as a collaborative giving model that provides opportunities for a wide range of individuals to engage in philanthropy by deploying partner talents and forming supportive relationships with community Investees.

Another top trend is that Next-Gen donors (25-40 years) are becoming big influencers on the future of our “Givingscape.”

In a recent Fidelity Charitable study, three-quarters (74%) of Millennials said they consider themselves philanthropists compared to just 35% of Boomers. They are also more likely to carry out their philanthropic values consistently through every aspect of their lives. Things like the cars they drive, where they work, the clothes they buy, and how they invest. Charitable living in addition to just charitable giving.

While it is not all about money, it is a factor. Recently, the Phoenix Business Journal published an article entitled, “The young and rich are flooding into Arizona, study shows.” The article references that the Grand Canyon State is among the top 10 destinations for wealthy millennials, according to a new study from finance platform Smartasset.

This is something that is important for us to pay attention to. To that end, SVP Arizona has embarked on a collaboration with the Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 under 40 upcoming business leader awardees. SVP offers a yearlong sponsored partnership to a new 40 under 40 cohort to introduce those young professionals to our model of engagement philanthropy and to a peer network of community philanthropists.

With a nod to continuing to build on the next generation of civic leaders and philanthropists, SVP is exploring more ways to deepen that pipeline through programs that will connect with more youth through partnerships with our universities and others.

No End to the Trends

This is by no means an exhaustive look at important trends in philanthropy for us to watch. If you are interested in learning more, we invite you to join SVPAZ at one of our upcoming Partner Education Events! Not yet a Partner? You can become a SVPAZ Partner today and start making a difference in your local community! We’ll connect you with the people and organizations working directly on the issues you care about the most. Our network of Investees and Partners is uniquely placed at the intersection of business and philanthropy, and will help you increase your impact!

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Thanks for coming to SVPAZ’s EDucation event!

Thank you to Kristen & Greg Saetrum for generously hosting this Partner Education Event!