The Changing Landscape of Philanthropy: Cultivating to Give & Leading to Sustain

The Changing Landscape of Philanthropy: Cultivating to Give & Leading to Sustain

On April 2, The Northern Trust Global Conference Center hosted a stage for a great conversation about the changing landscape of philanthropy and how non-profit organizations are adapting, in order to continue being sustainable. Northern Trust and the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle co-hosted the panel discussion, which was moderated by Marguerite H. Griffin, while Susan Crown and Dawn Frances Reese were the panelists of the evening. Panelist bios below.

The landscape of philanthropy has changed. Marguerite H. Griffin set the stage for the discussion by explaining that philanthropy has become a global phenomenon that has redefined itself to emerge as a powerful global force, shaping policies, values and research agendas.

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Millennials are playing an important role in changing the philanthropic world, with many of them investing time and resources in causes that are important to them. So, what does this mean for the future of nonprofit organizations? For Dawn Frances Reese, feeling personally connected is key when choosing organizations to get involved with. “I need to feel connected to the mission and explained Dawn.

Millennials are playing an important role in changing the philanthropic world, with many of them investing time and resources in causes that are important to them. So, what does this mean for the future of nonprofit organizations? For Dawn Frances Reese, feeling personally connected is key when choosing organizations to get involved with. “I need to feel connected to the mission and explained Dawn.

In 2014, according to the Millennial Impact Report by Research Group Achieve, 84 percent of millennials made a charitable donation, and 70 percent donated at least an hour of volunteering.  Millennials want to give their time and resources to causes that are important to them. They want to feel that they are making a difference.

A survey by the Case Foundation found that 90 percent of millennials “are motivated to give by a compelling mission, not an organization.” This poses a challenge for long-established nonprofit organizations, which need to find more effective ways to engage this generation.

“It’s all about passion, it’s all about commonality of mission and things that really sort of speak to the fire of your soul. This matters, this changes the world. This means something, this changes life,” said Susan Crown.

Non-profit organizations need to be innovative in the way they appeal to millennials, as well as the future Gen Z, in order to be sustainable for years to come. Dawn Reese spoke from personal experience when she said that she began volunteering with a nonprofit organization when she was still in high school. Her work gave her a purpose, as she saw the impact she made in people’s lives. She believes that nonprofits must implement opportunities for students to volunteer early on, in order to establish a more meaningful and lasting connection with them.

A 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey reported that “working for the good of the broader world or local community fulfills millennials’ desires to focus their energy and intellect on purposeful work. When working for a nonprofit, millennials can feel their influence; seeing the fruits of their labors fuels their drive, that in turn helps their nonprofit employers achieve greater impact.”

Having a good understanding of what is important to millennials and future generations is essential for nonprofits in remaining relevant and sustainable for years to come. A 2018 article titled “How Millennials are changing Philanthropy,” published by Forbes provides the following insights for nonprofits to better connect with millennials:

  1. Ask for more than money. This speaks to how millennials tend to align with a cause that is close to their hearts and that they feel passionate about. According to the article, “Millennials will share your cause. They will sign up and volunteer their time for fundraising, crowdfunding or fieldwork.”
  2. Tell stories. Millennials are being bombarded by messages constantly. Organizations need to make their message stand out from the rest by personalizing it and showing how people are being affected by the issue.
  3. Keep it simple. Be direct on your messaging, go right to the point. Don’t overcomplicate. And,
  4. Communicate urgency. Let millennials know what their time and money will do for someone right now. They want to know that their efforts and resources are making an impact.

Susan Crown sums it up when she explains that the traditional nonprofits are already making changes to stay relevant in an environment that is fueled by the passion and energy brought by millennials; an environment where everybody wants to be an entrepreneur and stand for a cause. This, she believes, is powerful and already making the big umbrella organizations reposition themselves in the 21st century. These are exciting times for nonprofits, when thinking outside the box and engaging the excitement of future generations will help them to maintain their relevance and continue fulfilling their mission.

Thank you Northern Trust for providing a forum for such an enlightening discussion to better understand the changes that are taking place in philanthropy and how nonprofit organizations can better engage millennials and future generations.

About the Tiffany Circle

The Tiffany Circle is a national and international leadership network of women who work to change lives, save lives and strengthen communities through a focused investment of time, talent and treasure in the American Red Cross. By making a $10,000 minimum annual investment, members of the Tiffany Circle stand proudly with an extraordinary group of women committed to ensuring that the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross is available to all.

About the Moderator

MargueriteMarguerite H. Griffin is a senior vice president at Northern Trust. As director of Philanthropic Advisory Services, Marguerite is responsible for the delivery and growth of Northern Trust’s philanthropic retreats. She also advises clients regarding impact investing, strategic philanthropy, international philanthropy, family succession planning and board development, governance and risk management for non-profit organizations. Marguerite is a member of the American Bar Association, the Chicago Council on Planned Giving and the Chicago Estate Planning Council. She is admitted to practice before the Illinois Supreme Court. Marguerite is an active volunteer, advisor and board member with several charitable and cultural institutions, including Aeris, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Community Trust, Forefront, the Ravinia Festival, and WTTW/WFMT.

About the Panelists

SusanSusan Crown is a philanthropist and business executive, Chairman and Founder of the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE), Chairman and CEO of Owl Creek Partners, and currently serves as the first female chairman of Rush University Medical Center and The Rush Health System. For nearly three decades, Susan dedicated time and talent to social causes and the business world. She was the first woman board member of Illinois Tool Works (ITW). She’s also a board member of The Northern Trust Corporation and a former board member of Baxter International.

DawnDawn Frances Reese is the Director of Strategy for the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education (The CAFE). Dawn sits on the board of City Year Chicago and the Development Leadership Consortium. She is a 2019 Chicago Urban League IMPACT fellow and a 2016 Development Leadership Consortium fellow. She is a former member of the Chicago Women in Philanthropy, the Young Women’s Giving Council, and the Chicago Foundation for Women. She also received Chicago Crain’s prestigious 40 under 40 honor in 2018.

Written by Regional Marketing & Communications Manager Isis Chaverri

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