CICF News / 2009 / December / News Post
December 16, 2009
The Next Generation of Philanthropy


by Christine Raymond, CICF Marketing & Communications Consultant

Parents need to teach their children about the importance of charitable giving. Like saving money, it’s a learned behavior, one that needs to be introduced and reinforced through modeling, experiences and structured behavioral practices. Being charitable with our dollars is an important life lesson, and the earlier this is learned, the better for all of us.

  • In November, at Legacy Fund of Hamilton County’s 2009 Celebration of Philanthropy event, each guest received a special gift, Three Cups. This book is a true story of how parents taught their child the important lesson of how to be thoughtful and deliberate in saving, spending and sharing their money. 

Once the lessons are learned, then there are decisions on how best to give. There are three primary types of philanthropy: conventional, venture and catalytic. For most donors, philanthropy is deciding which not-for-profit organizations to support and how much money to give them. These types of conventional donors delegate to charitable institutions the responsibility of addressing and improving specific conditions within the community. 

Those who participate in venture philanthropy are intent on increasing the effectiveness and capacity of specific organizations to better aid and address specific problems and issues. Both conventional and venture philanthropy are focused on not-for-profits that, for the most part, function alone, pursuing the strategies that each individual organization deems best.

A relatively new approach to social change is catalytic philanthropy. As the name implies, it’s about being a catalyst for change. There are four general practices that distinguish this type of philanthropy: taking responsibility for achieving results; mobilizing a campaign for change; identifying and using all available tools and connections; and creating actionable knowledge to motivate others.

The catalytic philanthropist has a very specific vision and is willing and able to see it through to reality. These types of donors don’t focus on the organization but on an issue. It starts with identification and then the development of a plan on how to solve a specific problem, utilizing all of the skills, connections and resources they possess. This type of philanthropic approach encourages collaboration throughout the sector because the focus is on creating ambitious change, not funding a specific not-for-profit organization or program.

It's not about how much money one has, but rather how one uses it, that really matters. Do you and your children have and use your three cups? The knowledge and practice of charitable giving can change a child's life, a family's life, and create change in our community.