A new report from the London-based consultancy Altrata suggests that charitable donations are increasingly becoming “hyper-concentrated among a small group of ultra-wealthy mega-donors.”

The report’s findings suggest that the ultra-wealthy are wielding increasing influence across the philanthropic sector, which has far-reaching implications for charities, nonprofits, and philanthropies seeking and/or relying upon charitable donations.

In a press release from Altrata, Lily Family School of Philanthropy dean Amir Pasic says the trend is already causing many nonprofits to rethink their fundraising strategies.

“A lot of nonprofits are pivoting to focus more on those major gifts and trying to figure out how to access wealthy donors and foundations,” Pasic said.

But in a world of limited philanthropic resources and competition among nonprofits to access them, the trend implies that we may see, or are already seeing, a race among nonprofits to reach these ultra-wealthy donors.

“Everybody is rushing to the top of the pyramid,” said Pasic. “But it’s becoming so concentrated they may be neglecting the importance of reaching out to tomorrow’s donors.”

The Altrata report defines “ultra-wealthy” or “ultra-high-net worth” (UHNW) donors as having a net worth of $30 million or more.

These donors, the report says, gave a total of $190 billion to philanthropic causes in 2022—an almost 25 percent increase from 2018—accounting for about 38 percent of all philanthropic giving.

And while big foundations and other institutional givers remain an important part of the philanthropic ecosystem, individual donors remain “the backbone of charitable giving,” the report says.

Given their growing prominence in philanthropy, “[t]here are significant gains to be made by organizations that can tailor their prospecting and engagement strategies to this demographic,” the report notes.

Among other key findings (1):

  • About half of all UHNW donations came from ultra-wealthy donors in North America
  • Ultra-wealthy donors are different: the report found ultra-wealthy donors to be idiosyncratic in their giving patterns, with little obvious connection between the source of a donor’s wealth and their giving patterns
  • Almost one in five of all UHNW individuals has a private foundation, a finding which emphasizes the “growing number and importance of private charitable foundations”

Read the full article about ultra wealthy donors by Isaiah Thompson at Nonprofit Quarterly .