What does philanthropy mean, and how can we make it relevant?


Nicolette Wolf


The word ‘philanthropy’ conjures up an image of ultra-wealthy individuals, donating – or pledging to donate – substantial portions of their wealth for the benefit of individuals and society; think Bill & Melissa Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Warren Buffet.  Whilst it’s an honourable cause, for many of us, that seems to be beyond our reach, requiring vast reserves of wealth.  Does this put you off philanthropy, or put it out of reach? It shouldn’t. Philanthropy is traditionally seen as the desire to promote the welfare of others, and whilst this is often via the generous donation of money to good causes, increasingly – especially among the millennial generation – it’s seen as the opportunity to give your time, money, knowledge, expertise, opinions and network to a cause, which for most of us is much more achievable.

A report by the Charities Aid Foundation summarises what matters to the new generation of givers, and how their attitudes might shape the future of philanthropy. The three key themes of the report are:

Leveraging networks
Millennials thrive on engagement, valuing their networks and giving together. They are also more willing to shout about what they’re doing. So, in future we can expect to see more strength in numbers and more people power, multiplying the impact of an individual’s giving.

Global causes
Of the top 5 charitable causes, millennials are more able to see the bigger picture than givers aged over 45.  They are more concerned with broader, global causes and tackling the big themes, with a greater interest in poverty, the environment and education. Those aged over 45 are influenced far more by causes ‘close to home’ and favour giving to causes related to children and cancer.

Hands-on approach
Lastly, millennials are more strategic and hands-on, really getting stuck in to get impact from their giving. They are much more likely to want to get involved by offering skills support or volunteering time than their older counterparts, despite similarly busy lives. This means we can expect more innovation, more experimentation, more long-term relationships with causes and charities, and more focus on leverage.

Read the full report here: https://www.cafonline.org/my-personal-giving/long-term-giving/future-of-philanthropy/future-stars-of-philanthropy

How does BeMORE encourage philanthropy?
BeMORE helps you discover philanthropy by allowing you to explore how you can make most difference to the lives of others, and discover how to maximise the impact of your giving.

The BeMORE approach creates giving groups, enabling individuals to multiply their personal impact by up to 20 times by giving in a group.  You will meet other, like-minded Londoners with shared values and join the BeMORE community.

Nicolette Wolf is CEO of BeMore.

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