3 Ways Philanthropy has Changed for the Better

It’s no surprise to anyone that the business of raising funds for charities has altered drastically in the 21st century. Sure, you still get the occasional mailing from a local shelter, and the Salvation Army is out ringing their bells around Christmastime, but it’s no secret technology has changed how charities do business. More than that, what people want from their donations has changed. Here are a few simple ways the way charities do business has changed—for the better.

3 Ways Philanthropy has Changed for the Better

1. Relationship Building is Key

Gone are the days of writing a check and mailing it off to one charity or another, never to hear how the money was spent. These days, donors want to feel like they are a part of the change. This means building relationships both with the charity and those who benefit from their money.

Ralph Thurman, co-founder of The Giving Tree Foundation, is a member of the old guard but has adapted to this new line of thinking. Not satisfied with simply contributing to various causes financially, he and the other members of The Giving Tree involve themselves firsthand in those communities. They make a point to travel to far-flung locations such as Peru and South Africa to engage with those who will benefit from those finances.

This is just one example of a growing trend: donors want to feel inspired by the groups they donate to. Younger donors are 90% more likely to donate if they feel a direct connection to the charity. This can come about by engaging with the charity, donating their time and effort, and developing trust in the organization.

2. Technology Changes Everything

Like so many aspects, technology has revolutionized the way charities get their message out. Social media platforms allow charities to tell their stories in a way they never could before. Increasing brand awareness isn’t just for corporations; by putting out viral ad campaigns through videos and memes, charities have learned to reach every corner of the internet. Nearly 40% of people say they learn about nonprofits through social media.

In addition, interactions with donors can become more personal because of how easy it is to respond to individuals via comments and tweets. Donors can feel like they are seen when they get personalized responses in this way rather than dispassionate form letters or thank you cards.

3. Specific Causes Draw More Attention

If a charity states they are raising money for a variety of murky, unspecified reasons, it’s hard for people to rally behind its cause. But if a charity has a focused mission on a specific goal, engagement from donors rises. Stating the charity is designed to confront injustices such as racial equity, affordable housing, education, or relief for specific disasters brings more people into the fold. The Red Cross regularly sees spikes in donations after global disasters such as hurricanes or volcanic eruptions. The transparency of where their money is going is increasingly important for donors.

Undoubtedly, the business of philanthropy has changed drastically over the past decade. It will be interesting to see the direction charities take in an ever-evolving world.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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