Fundraising Reading Round-Up
Fundraising mistakes and promoting giving: lessons from City Philanthropy

Catching them young: how to engage and nurture young philanthropists

I recently had the pleasure of chatting to Cheryl Chapman of City Philanthropy  about this new venture to promote philanthropy in the City of London. Thanks to funding from the City of London Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust the venture will run for three years and promote London as a centre for global philanthropy, part of the Lord Mayor of the City of London Roger Gifford’s aim too, it also aims to embed a culture of effective philanthropy in the City among young professionals.

Over the next two posts I’ll share some of the Cheryl’s insights on fundraising and philanthropy, starting with a closer look at young philanthropists.

How do today’s City philanthropists differ from earlier generations?

Over the last few years we’ve seen a big shift in how the younger generation of City workers approach philanthropy. Increasingly people want to start giving whilst they are still working and not once they have retired.

This wish to embed philanthropy into their working lives is very exciting, but also poses a challenge, as charities need to adapt to fit into this new approach. People no longer want to just write a cheque and forget about it. 

So how should charities respond?

They need to understand how this new breed of donor operates and adjust their fundraising accordingly.

In my experience this wave of new philanthropists are looking for several things from their giving:

  • High touch – they want to be involved and engaged in the projects they give to. They want to give time and skills, as well as money. In some cases they want to be involved in the actual creation of the charitable project that they will then fund.
  • High impact – they want to know that the projects they are funding will have an impact and that they can track the results , They are used to seeing the results of investments and expect a similar investment relationship with their giving;
  • High leverage – they are looking to make the most of every pound they give through tax effective giving and matched funding.
  • Social networking – we are seeing a growing number of giving circles where young people socialise around giving. It is hard to meet people in the City with the pressure of work, and the constantly changing and commuting community. Philanthropy is proving an excellent reason for people to meet, socialise, work with each other and access new networks.

Overall, charities and fundraisers need to think afresh on how they pitch to these philanthropists. They need to commoditise differently, packaging up the charitable need into niche offers that they can really buy into. These young philanthropists are not spending megabucks but meaningful amounts of money so fundraisers should think about access points. They also want to give time and skills along with money which is quite a different proposition.

 In achieving a better and more fruitful understanding between donors and fundraisers there needs to be communication and  better listening. Major donor fundraising is a bespoke market and every major donor is different. A philanthropist’s choice of charities reflects very personal aspects of their personality, values, beliefs and individualism.

The best fundraisers help make giving a pleasure and create with philanthropists and not to or for them.

 Can you give me some examples of this in practice?

Certainly. We are seeing a trend for philanthropists working together and clubbing together to fund projects that they are interested in.

For example, the Funding Network  brings together donors aand invites charities to pitch for funds dragons den style. It is tailored specifically for a young City audience with events in exclusive settings around London. The Network makes giving social and members have a shared experience of donating. It also makes charities work hard for the money through the competitive pitching process

Another example is the recently formed Young Philanthropy Syndicate.  This is for people taking their first steps in giving. An individual identifies a cause that motivates them and gathers friends and colleagues to join the syndicate. They are then mentored by an experienced philanthropist, who matches the syndicate’s donation

Next time we will be discussing common mistakes fundraiser’s make and how we can do more to promote giving.