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Societal trends and grantmaking

by The NonProfit Times - August 8, 2011

Once upon a time, there was an organization that sought a grant, knowing that if it made the case right the first time, with everything letter-perfect, it could use that request as a template forever.

No more.

As Patricia Pasqual, director of the Washington, D.C. office of the Foundation Center, told an audience at the 2011 Bridge Conference, societal trends, over the short and long terms, are having a significant effect on grantmaking.

Pasqual outlined the major trends:

  • Continued economic volatility. There is growing wealth and turmoil outside the United States. The recovery in the U.S. has been slow, so there is less money and less in in-kind services.
  • Demographic shifts. There are differences in attitudes and giving patterns of the generations. There is more diversity in the population and where people live. Women’s giving is becoming a factor, and women live longer and have different interests from traditional ones.
  • Changing sector boundaries. There are structural changes and relationships, new formats and thinking, and prominence of “public,” “private” and “faith-based” organizations. Regionalism and globalization are considerations. There are more giving options for individuals and corporations/foundations/other funders.
  • Technological advances. These affect donor expectations as well as giving.Increased government engagement. There have been partnerships, but also increased scrutiny. Processes can be important.
  • Consumer expectations. They are more technologically savvy, and they expect interaction and input opportunities, as well as tailored, up-to-the-minute information. They can be impatient.


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