What's Next for Philanthropy

Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked World

Philanthropy today takes place in a context that is radically different from the environment in which many of its current practices and behaviors were developed. An intimidating range of forces—globalization, shifting sectoral roles, economic crisis and new technologies—are changing both what philanthropy is called upon to do, and how donors and foundations will accomplish their work in the future. Tomorrow’s most successful funders will need to pioneer “next practices”—new ways of working that fit the emerging landscape of public problem solving within a more networked, dynamic and interdependent context.

Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, What’s Next for Philanthropy: Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked World argues that while philanthropic innovation over the last decade has been mostly about improving the effectiveness, efficiency and responsiveness of individual organizations, the next practices of the coming 10 years will build on those efforts to include an additional focus on coordination and adaption—acting bigger and adapting better.

Produced by the Monitor Institute, What’s Next for Philanthropy updates an earlier report, Looking Out for the Future, and represents more than a decade of work by the Institute in exploring the evolving “future of philanthropy.” The report:

  • Explains why innovators are challenging the status quo—and what change could look like in the next decade.
  • Identifies 10 “next practices” that are emerging despite the barriers to change.
  • Illustrates how funders can combine the next practices to achieve their goals through coordinated, diverse, open and adaptive strategies.
  • Discusses the shifts in data, tools, incentives and leadership that can accelerate progress toward the vision.