John HarveyTop 10 Predictions for Global Philanthropy in 2012

By: John Harvey In: Global Philanthropy

8 Dec 2011

The Council on Foundations surveyed some of its leading members active in the global grantmaking sphere to learn what they see on the horizon. Here are their top 10 predictions for 2012:

1. Despite worldwide economic challenges, global philanthropy will continue its remarkable growth. While the pace of growth will slow somewhat among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, growth in emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil will be robust.

2. As more and more of their operations move overseas, U.S.-based corporations will move more of their philanthropic dollars outside the United States.

3. Women philanthropists, who according to one recent study are 95 percent more inclined to give internationally than their male counterparts, will play a more active and public role in global philanthropy.

4. There will be a wave of new partnerships and collaborations in the global arena between and among foundations, governments, nonprofits, multilaterals, and corporations that will be driven by geopolitical, financial, and strategic factors. These partnerships will be a key ingredient in confronting global challenges and leveraging philanthropic dollars for the public good.  

5. U.S. philanthropy will take tentative but noteworthy steps toward greater engagement in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, with a particular focus on democracy, economic empowerment, and women’s rights.

6. An increasing number of alternative financing pools, including program-related investments, sovereign wealth funds and diaspora capital, will leverage important new resources toward economic development and social change. 

7. Led by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Bolder Giving, and others, donors of all economic backgrounds will step up and donate one-half or more of their wealth to global causes. Steve Jobs’ family will announce a major philanthropic undertaking in his name. 

8. With the rise of online, crowdsourced fundraising, the average citizen will become a larger part of the global philanthropic landscape, making 2012 and beyond the era of the citizen philanthropist. 

9. In light of the growing concern with the ever-widening wealth gap, more philanthropy will be devoted to addressing the root causes of economic injustice globally.

10. There will be movement in philanthropy to better respond to the voices and aspirations of grassroots communities. These communities increasingly will be valued for their ideas, knowledge, wisdom, and experience and included in the design and implementation of philanthropic interventions. 

What are your predictions for global philanthropy in 2012? Add them in the comments section below.

John Harvey is managing director of global philanthropy at the Council on Foundations.

8 Responses to Top 10 Predictions for Global Philanthropy in 2012


December 8th, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Agree! And also growth of philanthropic culture in “emerged countries” like Brazil and China.

Randy Macon

December 8th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I agree… especially with number 8. I predict the concept of “citizen philanthropy” is about to take off in ways not yet seen. Its incredibly exciting!

Top 10 Predictions for Global Philanthropy in 2012 – RE:Philanthropy

December 10th, 2011 at 7:19 am

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Bernard Lecat

December 10th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

In spite of so many years doing the same thing, I look at this “growing concern with the ever-widening wealth gap” with growing…scepticism.
Although they”donated” half their fortune, Bill Gates and his fellows keep on top of millionaires’ list…and examples like MSN’s website don’t ring philanthropic at all ! Bill Gates is nevertheless Microsoft 1st stakeholder.

Jacqueline Way

December 11th, 2011 at 12:49 am

This is a great list. It’s what people need to hear about philanthropy - all the good that is coming and will come from giving. Social media is taking a huge role in spreading the news world wide of how you can be a philanthropist even if you aren’t Bill Gates. My predication is an increase in the every day heroes that step p to do remarkable things to change the world via social media.

Bunmi Akinnusotu

December 12th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I would add that the Occupy fever will begin penetrate global philanthropy..particularly around the diversity of people who influence decisions around giving and transparency of those that lead these global institutions.

A Note from the Editor … - RE:Philanthropy

March 12th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

[...] The Council’s John Harvey had the most overall read blog: Top 10 Predictions for Global Philanthropy in 2012 [...]

D johnson

September 20th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

It is good news as far as the analytic prediction is concern but it is unlikely the impact will be felt by the people effectively due to old outdated approach process of reaching to the needy,I think the philanthropist deserve to be guided and assisted in making their philanthropying desire a joyful selfulfilling obligatory charity,because often most of their giving are misdirected by some of their advisers who to me do more harm to both the giver and genuine needy,such devious person should not be given access to build blanket process obstructing GIVER-

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