AFP on the Future of Philanthropy

Photo of Andrew Watt

Last week, I attended an Association of Fundraising Professionals
event called “The Future of Philanthropy and the Impact of AFP.”

Andrew Watt, AFP president and CEO, spoke to a packed room
at the Wilder Foundation.

Some key points I took from his talk:

Public Policy

  • The nonprofit sector represents 10 percent of the workforce and raises over $300 billion annually. We need to do a better job of raising the public profile of the importance, relevance, and value of nonprofits.
  • The philanthropic sector needs to develop relationships with legislators and encourage more social investment and build more revenue streams.
  • The Charitable Giving Coalition is made up of 60-plus organizations and focuses on the charitable tax deduction.

Public-Private Partnerships

Businesses are aligning philanthropic goals with business goals. Nonprofits need to think more strategically about relationships. We offer more to the partnership than brand awareness. For example, employee participation / volunteer programs result in an increase in production as shown by the research conducted by Gallup’s Q12 Meta Analysis.


  • Nonprofits are operating in a fragmented environment.
  • Funding models have permanently changed.
  • We must think more about generating revenue rather than traditional fundraising.
  • The future is in creativity, vigorous discussion, and questioning.
  • The sector needs more awareness and expertise in business development.
  • There is a great need for more leadership training.
  • The sector needs to change recruiting / human resource practices and parameters in order to increase diversity and inclusivity.
  • The U.S. should move towards a more creative-entrepreneurial approach. The philanthropic sectors in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia are leaders in this avenue.

Thanks to AFP for hosting this insightful event!

— Jennifer Pennington, MCF member services fellow

Thanks to the Minnesota Council on Foundations
for permission to reprint this blog post

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