5 trends of ‘donors of tomorrow’

Raising philanthropic support from private sources has taken on a new role at colleges and universities as support from states continues to dwindle at the same time that costs rise.

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) recently released a new publication, “The Board’s Role in Fundraising,” by Trish Jackson. The executive director of college and foundation partnerships at the Fullbridge Program in Cambridge, Mass., Jackson also is a former vice president for development at Smith College and associate vice president for individual and organizational giving at Dartmouth College.

“Depending upon life experiences, the motivations of traditional donors may differ from those of ‘new philanthropists’ of the Boomer and Millennial generations,” Jackson wrote.

Jackson suggests five trends will increasingly represent “donors of tomorrow:”

  • Linear progression is not the only way to give. Donors will make one or two large gifts early in their relationship then move on to support other institutions or compelling causes that they care about.
  • Women matter. Women’s philanthropic support has been discussed more frequently for the past 20 years, and women’s strong networks might keep them more connected to the needs of others and to opportunities to give.
  • Lifelong donor education on both the “why” and the “how” is important.
  • Authentic staff, volunteer and donor partnerships lead to greater success for institutions. Investments in resources to development partnerships are certain to reap a strong return
  • High tech and high touch are both essential. People still give to people but technology will continue to affect how donors are identified, cultivated, solicited and stewarded but expectations about the abilities to meet philanthropic needs in efficient and effective ways will increase.