Creating sustainable change: Key highlights from new philanthropy report

Julie Davitz
Posted by Julie Davitz
Strategic Philanthropy

To get a good handle on the global state of philanthropy today, I recommend the 2016 BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Index report, published by our parent company BNP Paribas in conjunction with Forbes Insights.

Silhouette of female jogger running into the sunset.The annual index was derived from a survey of 457 high net worth individuals (each with investable assets of $5 million or more) in four regions: Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States.

The index itself ranks the U.S. in the top spot, followed by Europe, but there are some broad philanthropic trends that emerged in the research that I think are worth noting.

Outcomes

Most philanthropists want to effect change, and achieving a sustainable outcome is one of their top motivations, according to the survey. Roughly 70% of the respondents said creating or funding an organization that provides ongoing assistance was a top priority, followed closely by, when possible, eradicating a problem completely (68%). Note: respondents were able to choose/rank multiple answers to many of the questions.

Funding

Of course, many sustainable outcomes depend on a continuous flow of money. When asked about funding, most respondents (70%) favored securing steady, ongoing funding as a way to finance their projects. Another preferred method: Creating a self-sustaining organization or charity that can make a profit to keep it going (57%). Ongoing fundraising was the least favored (19%) method.

Collaboration

More than half of the philanthropists (54%) said working with another philanthropic organization is the surest way to achieve a sustainable outcome. The extremes – either working with multiple entities or going solo – are seen as less effective, according to the report.

Resources

Many of the surveyed philanthropists look to trusted sources of information, including professional advisors. Family and relatives, along with peer exchanges and online research, were popular sources for the respondents, followed closely by philanthropy advisors and agencies in the top five.

Another item that’s clear to me from the report: Many of these successful philanthropists are very deliberate and strategic in their giving. The full report (download here) includes stories and examples that may inspire your thinking, so I encourage you to read it. Or you can view this summary.

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