Michael O’Neill Symposium: The Future of Philanthropy – March 23, 2005

Michael O’Neill, professor of nonprofit management, founder and former director of the Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management, and author of Nonprofit Nation:  A New Look at the Third America, delivered a symposium titled "The Future of Philanthropy" at USF.  O’Neill made the following 10 predictions for the next 25 years:

  1. American giving will grow in inflation-adjusted dollars over the next 25 years (as it has done over the previous 40 years).
  2. American giving will track the American economy over the next 25 years (as it has done over the previous 40 years, staying constant at roughly 2% of the U.S. GDP).
  3. American volounteerism will remain constant over the next 25 years (but the trend of increasing volunteerism by seniors and youth and decreasing volunteerism by adults in their 20s through 50s will continue).
  4. Philanthropy will depend overwhelmingly on the frequency and quality of person-to-person asking.
  5. Philanthropic donations from bequests which have risen 300% in inflation-adjusted dollars during the past 40 years will experience a 300% growth in inflation-adjusted dollars in the next 25 years.
  6. Online giving will increase but will constitute less than 5% of individual giving in the next 25 years.
  7. Virtual volunteering will increase but will account for less than 5% of volunteer hours in the next 25 years.
  8. Business will continue to be an important donor to and partner with nonprofits but business and philanthropy will remain highly distinct during the next 25 years.
  9. In the next 25 years, there will be a continual stream of publicized scandals about philanthropy, but these will not significantly damage giving and volunteerism to nonprofits.
  10. In the next 25 years, the professionalism of philanthropy will continue to grow and will have a positive impact on American giving.