Is philanthropy a dirty word? - Fundraising & Philanthropy

17 January 2023

Philanthropy is changing

What do you think of when you hear the word philanthropist? The traditional view of philanthropy was often limited to the wealthy giving large donations to established charities. However, today’s philanthropist is harder to define and includes people from all walks of life who give in different ways, including volunteering, activism, and impact investing. Importantly, for philanthropists today there is a greater emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion, with donors recognising the importance of supporting underrepresented communities and addressing systemic inequalities.

Australia is on track to witness an unprecedented generational wealth transfer with an anticipated $2.6 trillion shifting from baby boomers to their children. This next generation of advocates and donors is purpose-driven, socially conscious, and loves participating in experiences. One of the biggest changes already visible is a shift in priorities among younger generations. Unlike their parents and grandparents, who tended to prioritise traditional causes such as education and healthcare, young philanthropists are interested in the future of humanity. They want the world itself to be more equitable, they want to make sound choices that have a tangible impact on the future they inherit.

How the live crowdfunding format is shifting perceptions of philanthropy

The live crowdfunding format championed by Australian nonprofit catalyst organisations like The Funding Network (TFN), 10×10 Philanthropy, Impact 100 and others is shifting the perception of philanthropy in the non-profit sector in Australia. In this model, the nonprofit leaders pitch to a room of donors directly, engaging the audience in a short, sharp and effective appeal. This makes giving accessible and fun, inspiring everyday Australians to give to programs that support their local community and where they can see the real-life impact of their generosity. Attendees aren’t simply encouraged to donate, they’re encouraged to become part of a culture of giving. “I’ve been to many TFN events over 10 years and I know people donate when they’re touched by their heart,” explains Allan English of the English Family Foundation. “You can see that energy move across the room and that’s always a delight to see. It’s a great way to raise funds and a great way to get people engaged.”

Andrea Comastri, CEO for Australia’s first social enterprise hotel, Hotel Etico, has worked in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector in Australia for almost three decades and has high hopes for the future of giving in Australia. “Philanthropy traditionally likes to do things in a certain way,” says Comastri. ”There are a growing number of enlightened philanthropists in Australia that understand these traditional ways of raising funds – like gala dinners or big expensive fundraisers – are not the way of the future. For grassroots non-profits, live crowdfunding and better access in the digital space is making a huge difference. I’m really pleased that I discovered this new world, this different way of raising funds through TFN. I’ve seen many very successful people before me that have lined up so many awards and funding through TFN. It works!”

The future of giving

Both 10×10 Philanthropy and TFN celebrate 10 years of impact in 2023. Their 10th anniversary events showcase what an incredible impact seed funding can have for grassroots charities. When Corey Tutt OAM was selected to share his story through TFN in 2021, he was hoping to raise enough money to hire DeadlyScience’s first employee – himself. Now DeadlyScience has a team of six delivering lessons and getting STEM resources to more than 800 regional and remote schools and inspiring Indigenous kids to embrace their legacy and future as First Scientists. Both Hotel Etico and DeadlyScience will join Victorian social enterprise Anika Legal in sharing their stories at The Funding Network’s 10th anniversary crowdfunding event on the 4th of May at the ASX. The event will be live-streamed across Australia; anyone can join online and make a donation to any of the presenting organisations.

As a younger generation of donors and impact investors shift towards more collaborative approaches to philanthropy, we can expect to see even more organisations adopting live crowdfunding to raise funds. By empowering individuals to give in meaningful ways, organisations like TFN are leading the way in helping to democratise philanthropy and create a culture of giving that is inclusive and diverse.

TFN is marking its first decade of impact with a special crowdfunding event with a twist to be held on 4 May in Sydney and streaming live. TFN has invited its Alumni network back to provide an update on their impact and to pitch for support a second time. The finalists – Anika LegalDeadly Science and Hotel Etico – represent the most innovative and exciting grassroots programs in the nonprofit sector in Australia today.

By Rabia Lockwood

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