Shaping the philanthropy of the future

Last month, I had the opportunity to hear David La Piana, founder of La Piana Consulting (a US-based firm dedicated to strengthening non-profits and foundations), speak to our regional association of grantmakers about the five inter-related trends shaping the non-profit sector: demographic and generational shifts in leadership, advances in technology and social media, the growth of networks, a rise in civic engagement, and the blurring of sector lines. He documents these trends in his November 2009 monograph Convergence, which not only sets the stage for the new realities facing non-profits but also advises funders on how they can support non-profits’ efforts to adapt to them. On this point, La Piana emphatically states, ‘funders must depart from traditional funding models’.

As a professional who works with both individual donors and family foundations to implement effective and meaningful giving strategies, I considered these words in the context of how they might shape the philanthropic advising profession and how they might inform our understanding of the best practices we impart to our clients.

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