Three Trends Shaping Philanthropy in 2024

Leko Durda

Philanthropy has long been a dynamic field, responding to changes in society, technology, and global needs. As we move through 2024, several emerging trends are beginning to shape how individuals, foundations, and corporations approach giving. These trends not only reflect the evolving landscape of global needs but also changes in the mindset and strategies of donors. This article explores three significant trends influencing philanthropy this year: the increase in participatory grantmaking, the focus on climate change, and the integration of technology to enhance giving.

1. Participatory Grantmaking: A Shift Towards Inclusivity

Participatory grantmaking signifies a shift in decision-making within philanthropy. Traditionally, donors or boards of large foundations have made decisions about the allocation of philanthropic funds. However, participatory grantmaking engages community members, particularly those directly impacted by the funding, in the decision-making process.

This approach is gaining traction because it aligns with broader trends toward equity and inclusivity. This method ensures that the funding aligns with the priorities and challenges of those it aims to help, rather than disconnecting from the realities on the ground.

2. Climate Change: Rising to the Forefront of Philanthropic Efforts

The urgency of addressing climate change is influencing philanthropy significantly in 2024. As the effects of climate change become more apparent and pressing, philanthropists are dedicating more resources to environmental causes. This shift is evident not only in the amount of funding directed towards climate change but also in the strategic approach to environmental philanthropy.

Philanthropic funding is increasingly focused on supporting innovative solutions to environmental problems. This includes investing in renewable energy projects, supporting sustainable agriculture practices, and funding research into climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. Moreover, there is a growing trend towards supporting grassroots organizations that are working directly on the front lines of climate change. These organizations often have the most immediate impact on affected communities and are pivotal in driving local change.

In addition to direct environmental funding, philanthropists are also integrating climate considerations into all aspects of their giving. For example, foundations are assessing the environmental impact of their investments and are looking to support projects that have co-benefits for the climate. This holistic approach underscores a recognition that climate change impacts all areas of life and that solutions need to be integrated across various sectors.

3. Leveraging Technology to Enhance Philanthropic Impact

Technology continues to play a transformative role in philanthropy, changing how donors connect with causes, streamline operations, and measure the impact of their contributions. In 2024, the integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and blockchain are becoming increasingly prevalent in philanthropic strategies.

AI and big data are being used to identify trends, predict where interventions might be most needed, and measure the outcomes of philanthropic initiatives. For example, AI can help simulate the impact of different health interventions to determine where funding could have the greatest effect. Similarly, big data allows organizations to manage and analyze vast amounts of data to enhance decision-making and operational efficiency.

Blockchain technology is also becoming more common in philanthropy, primarily through its ability to provide transparency and reduce fraud. Blockchain can help track the flow of funds from donors to the final recipients, ensuring that money is used as intended. This transparency is particularly appealing to a new generation of donors who value accountability and want to see the direct impact of their contributions.

Moreover, technology is facilitating new forms of giving. Crowdfunding platforms and social media are enabling more people to engage in philanthropy, lowering the barriers to entry for donors. These platforms allow individuals to support specific projects or causes directly, providing a direct link between the donor and the beneficiary. This trend is democratizing philanthropy, making it accessible to a broader audience and harnessing the collective power of small donations.

The landscape of philanthropy is continually evolving, and 2024 is no exception. With trends like participatory grantmaking, a focus on climate change, and the use of technology, the field is becoming more inclusive, impactful, and efficient. These trends not only reflect the changing priorities of donors but also the broader societal shifts towards greater inclusivity, environmental responsibility, and technological integration. As these trends continue to develop, they promise to shape the future of philanthropy in significant and lasting ways.