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2024 Trends in Philanthropy: Sector Leaders Look Ahead

In the constantly changing world of philanthropy, a new year holds promises of innovation, collaboration, and meaningful change. As we strive to understand and navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, we reached out to our partners and the advisors that we work with. We asked: 

1. “What is the biggest opportunity or trend you see for philanthropic organizations / your members in 2024?” 

2. What success from 2023 are you most excited about carrying forward to inform your (or your organization’s) 2024?” 

From non-grant assets to the advancement of AI and continued collaboration, here’s what they had to say about philanthropy’s outlook in 2024: 

“One major opportunity for lean funders is to lean into their non-grant assets and abilities. These include their capacity to focus on an urgent issue for years while being agile and flexible, using their convening and matchmaking power, and building relationships with local and state leaders in government, business, nonprofits, healthcare, education, and media. In 2023, many Exponent Philanthropy members learned about Catalytic Leadership in Philanthropy to leverage these non-grant resources and respond to community needs and priorities. We are excited to see what these funders accomplish next year and beyond as they partner with their communities to advance equity and catalyze profound and lasting systems change." --Andy Carroll, senior advisor at Exponent Philanthropy (EP) 

"Philanthropy's steadfast public trust positions us as a vital collaborator with government and industry in bridging divisions in America. Despite the trust level holding at 34% in 2023, as reported by Independent Sector, an increased skepticism towards philanthropy underscores our duty to build and maintain this trust. In 2024, especially amidst the electoral process, philanthropy's role in American society is more critical than ever. I see more of our members stepping into this space, nurturing civility and constructive dialogue at the local level. By focusing on education, engagement, and initiatives that encourage informed, respectful conversations, we can significantly contribute to the nation's civic health during these pivotal times." -- Claudia Cummings, CEO, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance (IPA) 

“Impact investing opportunities and partnerships are allowing Kansas community foundations to expand the way they think about community leadership and addressing local needs in a strategic way that positions their assets for the greater good of their community. This has the potential to revitalize even our most rural communities.” – Christy Tustin, CEO, Kansas Association of Community Foundations (KACF) 

“2024 is an election year and one in which some of our world's biggest challenges, like climate change, will be even more pressing. By embracing the principles of effective family philanthropy--accountability, equity, reflection and learning, and relationships--in their work both internally and externally, donors can provide meaningful support to their grantee partners to tackle the issues we're facing.  Giving families have the opportunity to lean into the sector's shift from a donor-centered model of family philanthropy to one that centers community voice, expertise, and solutions.” -- Emerald Adeyemi, Senior Director, Growth and Engagement, National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP) 

“For all that we do well, there is still work to battle the scarcity that undergirds our sector. For me, that looks less like funding priorities areas ad infinitum, and more like making significant investments to solve big problems, being better co-conspirators to drive equitable practices that include leveraging the power of people first AND technology and leaning more toward collective action versus siloed interventions. 

“Remembering to use oneself as the first instrument of change. Asking others to shift while we stay static isn't the model our sector needs, especially as it relates to advancing equity. The solutions we're looking for will be designed by us, so let's get to work.” --Satonya Fair, President and CEO, PEAK Grantmaking 

“Empowering, encouraging, and engaging partners across the nonprofit and for-profit sectors is something I identify as a key achievement from 2023 and an amazing opportunity in 2024. We have always focused on partnerships, and are seeing more and more return on intentional partner planning, building, and collaboration both internally and among our colleagues. Partnerships can establish unstoppable forces in a field, for a cause, in a community, and among allies. We want to be a presence in the partner arena, facilitate conversations and opportunities among our colleagues, and invest resources in seeing powerful alliances form and flourish in the coming year.” -- Mandy Pearce, Owner, Funding For Good 

“Undoubtedly, the most significant breakthrough of 2023 was the rapid advancement of Artificial Intelligence tools. Initially cautious, GrantStation is now actively embracing these tools to discern their strengths and weaknesses. We are dedicated to guiding grant professionals through this transformative journey, offering valuable education and resources to navigate these uncharted waters. I am firmly convinced that the ethical utilization of these tools has the power to advance equity in the nonprofit sector.” --Alice Ruhnke, President, GrantStation 

What trends are you seeing or suspect will reveal themselves? What are YOU most excited about? Share with us your thoughts, questions, or requests for more information! We’re looking forward to hearing from you. 

About the Author

Foundant Technologies has specialized in making philanthropy easier and more impactful through innovative software solutions and exceptional client experiences since 2007. Passionate about philanthropy, our team is dedicated to meeting the unique needs of grantmakers, scholarship providers, community foundations, and nonprofits to enable change-makers to make the world a better place for all.

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