When it comes to the giving of time or money, there are no prerequisites. You do not need to be a certain age or have a particular skill set. Whether you are a millennial or looking towards retirement, a C-suite executive or a stay-at-home parent, everyone has a role to play in the future of philanthropy in our world.
Philanthropy today, though, looks very different from 50 years ago. For younger generations, giving is integrated into their lives and being philanthropic no longer stops at writing a check.
For example, Mary Galeti is a young philanthropist serving as the vice president for the Tecovas Foundation, a nonprofit that specializes in family philanthropy. In this Forbes piece, Galeti explains the need for many millennials to incorporate philanthropy and their social convictions into their daily lives. She explains that social life, professional life, and family life are no longer confined to separate buckets for new generations and values and passions are being reflected in all aspects of their life. Millennials see philanthropy as a fluid part of their life, not something separate. This, I believe, is making our next generation of philanthropists more passionate and better leaders for change.
Another part of this new age of philanthropy is making educated choices of where to spend your time and money. With 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the world alone, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to decide where to donate as well as some apprehensions due to scam artists disguising as charities. It is our role as responsible philanthropists, then, to do a little homework to find a trustworthy organization to help make the greatest impact. One way to do this is to utilize online tools such as The Future of Philanthropy website. The site offers users different options, tailored to specific goals such as interest in education or designing a conference to guiding users with a limited amount of time to give to short-term volunteer options. The choice you make with your time and money will have a direct impact on the future, so why not make the most of it through informed choices.
Another dimension of philanthropy today is that it is becoming less individualistic and increasingly about collaborative effort. Katherine Fulton, President of Monitor Institute and New Philanthropist, explains in her TedTalk presentation that collaboration and innovation will be the keys to acting on these choices of time and money in shaping the future of our communities and world. She explains that there is power in communities of givers, formed out of organizations, which make the greatest impact. Fulton challenges us to think about what community we want to be part of creating and reminds us that our future does not have to be imagined – it starts here and now.
The beauty of giving is that it is always changing and improving, challenging us to give more and create bigger change. I am excited about this new direction of philanthropy, and even more excited for the impact it will have on not only our futures, but on the lives of generations to come.
What are some ways you have seen philanthropy change for the better?