5 Philanthropy Trends To Watch In 2018

What philanthropy trends should your nonprofit prepare for this year? GlobalGiving’s Eleanor Harrison OBE answers.


The world of philanthropy is changing. It’s hard to keep up! To help, here are five trends in philanthropy that I believe will matter in 2018 and beyond:

    1. Collaboration is the new black.

    In the future, your nonprofit’s ability to collaborate with others will be paramount to success. “Nonprofits, large and small, are facing increased pressure to deliver on their missions in creative ways. This pressure is coming not only from government cutbacks and mounting needs, but also from technology,” writes Peter Panepento. How can you accelerate in this area? Make two lists: one that documents the resources and talents you’d be willing to share with fellow nonprofits to achieve a higher purpose, and a second that documents what resources you’d like others to share with you. Act on the lists! (Otherwise, they’re just lists☺.)

    2. Radical transparency is in rising demand.

    Donors and clients deserve to know what’s working and what’s not in your work, without any filters. An environment where information—from budgets to board minutes—is openly shared through technology like blockchain will become the norm for nonprofits in the future. How can you accelerate in this area? Learn more about radical transparency, and follow early leaders in the field, such as the International Aid Transparency Initiative and Accountable Now.

    3. Technological advances alter the way we operate.

    I recently attended a film screening for a charity. Mid-way through the screening, a representative asked me if I’d like to make a donation through Venmo. Advances in payment technology, think Venmo, PayPal, and Apple Pay, will make giving easier than ever before. How can you accelerate in this area? Audit the donation process that your donors must navigate. Is it simple? Is it one click? Make it so!

    4. Positive storytelling is vital.

    There are more tools than ever before to tell stories and show donors why their support matters. And you don’t need a 10-person communications staff or fancy equipment to tell good stories. Consider this simple flash mob video which has more than 10 million views, created by Community Action Partnership of Strafford County. How can you accelerate in this area? Learn from other inspiring campaigns, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

    5. Crowdsourcing is ubiquitous.

    Gloria Horsely, president of Open to Hope foundation, explains, “For a nonprofit that is continually seeking ways to do more with less, crowdsourcing is a definitive strategy for working smarter.” Examples include microvolunteering, risk mapping, and ideas for service or product enhancements. How can you accelerate in this area? Explore GlobalGivingTime to crowdsource solutions to micro-challenges at your nonprofit.

Collaboration, radical transparency, technological advances, storytelling, and crowdsourcing are increasingly important, in both foreseen and unforeseen ways. Take small steps now to prepare for the future of philanthropy and future proof your important work!

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Featured Photo: Save 1,000 Samburu Girls from Early Marriage by Coexist Initiative

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