The small group of us who coordinate philanthropy networks have developed a unique perspective on philanthropy. Through building networks, we aim to support grantmakers, build connections, and champion the potential of philanthropy to those who work within and alongside the sector. 

Over time, we have come to observe certain trends. These are present in the debates that members of our networks are having; the approaches being used in philanthropy to have impact and the thematic and geographic focus of grant-making. We notice when organisations sunset portfolios, and when clusters of new interests emerge. Our job is to respond to the questions and needs that our members have, and so we are acutely aware of how and when these trends change. 

But our perspective is limited to the boundaries of our network. 

In late 2022, the International Education Funders Group reflected on the internal trends and dynamics of education philanthropy and sought a ‘zoomed out’ perspective on how these sector-specific trends fit within wider, sector-agnostic philanthropy trends.

Heriot Row Advisors helped them to do just this, and in a new report, identified nine key trends for the education philanthropy community to consider. Each of these trends is related to the ‘why, what and how’ of philanthropic giving. 

We highlight three of these here, related to ‘the how’. 

The first trend involves an increase in the diversity of ways donors are channelling funding. Across philanthropy, an increasing number of high-net-worth individuals are eschewing the traditional route of establishing foundations and instead channelling their funding through DAFs (Donor Advised Funds) and family offices. Whilst this can provide a more quick and easy way for funders to move donations, it also means they are more reliant on their bankers and philanthropy advisors for their giving and, as a result, rarely take time to understand the wider (education) sector.  

Read the full article about understanding education philanthropy trends by Caroline McLaughlin and Laura Savage at Alliance Magazine.