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On Philanthropy: 6 trends to affect philanthropic landscape in 2018

Bruce DeBoskey, Tribune News Service on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Giving circles will continue to grow

In the past decade, giving circles – where individuals (mostly women) pool their money and decide collectively how it will be donated -- have tripled in number.

The Collective Giving Research Group found that giving circles have donated $1.29 billion and engaged more than 150,000 donors. Four out of five giving circles focus their efforts on local causes -- highlighting human services, women and girls, and education. According to the report, giving circles are "a highly accessible and effective philanthropic strategy to democratize and diversity philanthropy, engage new donors, and increase local giving." Look for them to grow.

Impact investing will flourish

Currently, trillions of U.S. dollars of assets are under management using environmental, social and governance factors. These statistics are provided by the US SIF Foundation, which monitors sustainable, responsible and impact investing.

The nearly $1 trillion sitting in foundations and donor-advised funds, on the other hand, represents an enormous resource that could be invested for the double bottom line of both financial return and social impact. In 2018, expect that more foundations will "put their money where their missions are" and work to achieve their missions from the engine of their philanthropic assets, not just the fumes.

Benefits of volunteering recognized

With each new research study, the benefits of volunteering become clearer. Health benefits to the volunteer include lower blood pressure and decreased mortality.

"Voluntarism is good for the health of people who receive social support, but also good for the health of people who offer their help," said Ichiro Kawachi, professor of social epidemiology at Harvard's School of Public Health. These benefits should inspire businesses, health care facilities and other entities to provide more opportunities for volunteers to give back.

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Philanthropic strategy to go "mainstream"

Increasingly, leaders in families, foundations and businesses understand that philanthropy consists of much more than the transactional act of writing checks or clicking online donation buttons. Today, philanthropy is seen as a strategic and intentional investment that can be transformational -- for both society and the donor.

As we ponder the philanthropic landscape in 2018, there is both good news and bad news. Significant challenges will be presented by the new federal tax laws, which remove many traditional incentives for giving – especially to smaller and local nonprofits.

At the same time, positive ongoing trends include the increase in issue-related giving, giving circles, impact investing, and volunteerism. Without doubt, it will be an interesting and impactful year!

About The Writer

Bruce DeBoskey is a philanthropic strategist working with The DeBoskey Group ( to help businesses, families and foundations design and implement thoughtful philanthropic strategies and actionable plans. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops on philanthropy. Readers may send him email at

(c)2018 Bruce DeBoskey

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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