Types of philanthropy

A wide spectrum of approaches may be applied to philanthropy. Some current trends have already been discussed in previous sections; other approaches are described below.

Corporate philanthropy

Companies are increasingly aware of their responsibilities to the communities in which they work. Many have established corporate social responsibility
programmes and some have gone so far as to set up stand-alone charitable foundations to maximise the impact of their giving.

Grant-making philanthropy

Philanthropic organisations that adopt this approach will typically have grant rounds in which organisations submit proposals for funding. Directors, trustees or an advisory group decide which proposals to fund, based on pre-defined criteria and the potential impact.

Once-off philanthropic gifts

A visionary idea for change may not need ongoing support, but rather a single donation to help realise that vision. Although the benefits of a large-scale capital project will be felt for years to come, the primary need for funding may be at the start of that project.

Partnership-led philanthropy

Many philanthropic organisations choose to maximise impact by using their expertise in co-operating with charities and other philanthropic organisations and the Government in achieving their aims.

Social entrepreneurship

Some individuals use entrepreneurial principles to tackle particular challenges in society. These social entrepreneurs often take innovative approaches to solving particular societal problems. Organisations which support social entrepreneurship typically offer financial support and access to a support network.

Social finance

Social finance involves lending money with the primary purpose of achieving positive social change. Money is lent to individuals or organisations where it is felt that the money will achieve positive social impact. The money is paid back with affordable rates of interest.

Venture philanthropy

This area of philanthropy has only come to prominence within the last twenty years. Its name comes from applying techniques more commonly associated with venture capital to the task of philanthropy. Typically, this involves supporting charitable organisations not only with money but with business planning expertise.