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Tomorrow’s Philanthropist: Generous, Ambitious, Active, and High Impact

“We are now in an age of active, self-made wealth, and these individuals are becoming just as active in their philanthropy. The key skills that many learned whilst building their wealth in the commercial sector are now being applied in the not-for-profit world. Just as they do in business, entrepreneurs are applying the same business acumen and innovative approach when engaging in philanthropy.

“We are now in an age of active, self-made wealth, and these individuals are becoming just as active in their philanthropy. The key skills that many learned whilst building their wealth in the commercial sector are now being applied in the not-for-profit world. Just as they do in business, entrepreneurs are applying the same business acumen and innovative approach when engaging in philanthropy. Whilst money is by far the most common way all donors give to charity, entrepreneurs are more likely than other groups to state they are providing business expertise, networking, and fundraising to help the causes they support.” This according to Barclays Wealth’s new research report called, Tomorrow’s Philanthropist, conducted in cooperation with Ledbury Research.

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“The wealthy are still giving despite the downturn, and some wealthy individuals are actually increasing the levels of their funding,” says the study. Here are additional trends: donors are giving away their money while they are alive, pooling their resources for greater impact, giving more internationally, expecting to see measurable outcomes, and are as ambitious and impatient in their expectations of the nonprofits in which they invest as they were with the companies they built. The study also explains that donors seek to solve problems, not simply support causes, and that today’s donors see the internet and technology as key elements in helping to enable measurement and impact.

Most importantly, according to Barclays Wealth, “philanthropy is likely to become more deeply embedded in the heart of companies as the world seeks to find a more sustainable and ethical form of commerce.” And “the wealthy will increasingly seek professional advice for giving as they do in business.”

In my work with corporations, foundations, and philanthropists, I have seen these patterns, and recommend and help donors to achieve their interests. If you are a donor or prospective donor, here are key steps:

  • Determine the issues you want to address as an individual or an institution
  • Partner with nonprofits/NGOs that have expertise and effective leadership in addressing the key issues
  • Engage personally and actively, including in helping to ensure that the organization gets the resources it needs, has an effective strategy, and achieves success (through iterative planning and measurement)

On a related note: Listen here to the new Carnegie Council interview on my work in helping companies and their executives to engage with nonprofit boards and high-impact philanthropy, and my leadership development work in strengthening boards to envision and achieve more ambitious results for the nonprofit sector.

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About the author

Korngold provides strategy consulting to global corporations on sustainability, facilitating corporate-nonprofit partnerships, and training and placing hundreds of business executives on NGO/nonprofit boards for 20+ years. She provides strategy and board governance consulting to NGO/nonprofit boards, foundations, and educational and healthcare institutions. Korngold's latest book is "A Better World, Inc.: How Companies Profit by Solving Global Problems…Where Governments Cannot," published by Palgrave Macmillan for release on 1/7/14

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