Philanthropy’s New Frontier

I can’t stop thinking about a session I attended at Planned Giving Days this spring. Why? Because Avery Tucker Fontaine of BNY Mellon painted a picture of how today’s potential donors think . . . and let’s just say, it’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.

By next year, the population of Gen X and Gen Y combined will be 139 million, and the number of boomers will decline to 79 million. So it’s important to understand how these younger donors think about impacting change. And, the bottom line is, these younger donors are just as likely — or even more likely — to invest in a social impact business as a charitable organization.

According to Tucker Fontaine, “Yesterday’s wealthy investors were more willing to make their money in evil ways and then give it to charity to absolve their sins. Now, people want to make their money, invest their money, and give it away along the same spectrum with a consistent set of values.”

Unlike their parents, today’s investors believe that the financial markets can work for the people and the planet, as well as investors. It’s becoming mainstream to think about achieving social change outside of traditional nonprofits. There is a continuum of options available:

  • Traditional nonprofit
  • Nonprofit with income generating model
  • For profit social venture
  • Socially responsible business
  • Traditional for profit

(Click here to see a nice visual depiction of this continuum by Mission Capital.)

How can you position your organization with opportunities along this entire spectrum?

The Global Impact Investment Initiative, GIIN, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting social impact investors. They report that global impact investment has doubled in the past two years to $114 billion. Compare that to the $410 billion contributed to charity in 2017—and it paints a very clear picture.

If your nonprofit is not thinking about how to appeal to these new impact investment-minded donors, it’s time to start.

Here are some resources for further exploration:

How Nonprofits Can Tap Into the Impact Investment Market

The Impact Investor

What You Need to Know About Impact Investing

-Kathy Swayze

Photo credit: Pictures of Money Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-2.0) license

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