Creating impact through philanthropy

"Creating impact through philanthropy – a Nordic perspective" is based on in-depth interviews with over 40 philanthropists across Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden focusing on issues such as donor motivations and influences, philanthropic practices and operations, challenges and obstacles to giving, the forms of support philanthropy can facilitate, and how its impacts might be strengthened.

The report demonstrates the very specific flavor of Nordic philanthropy. It does not exist in a vacuum from public funding and institutions, but rather complements it in providing public goods and has the potential to create innovative solutions to address contemporary challenges. Philanthropists themselves are tending to give earlier in their lives and take a more active role in the projects and the organizations they support. There is also an increasing interest in measuring and evaluating philanthropy’s impact.

According to the study, philanthropic interests are driven by personal connections to the issues. Family involvement remains important despite a culture of individualism. Of the areas supported, scientific research and the care of children and youth are most prioritized. And for the majority, philanthropy is primarily a domestic affair, although more than half also have some degree of international involvement.

Nordic philanthropists are becoming more strategic, focused, professional and collaborative, with two-thirds collaborating with other philanthropists and organizations. They also consider that all actors in society share a responsibility for societal development; hence an increasingly holistic and impact-driven approach could be identified. There is also a growing interest in new and innovative forms of giving. Recent examples are venture philanthropy, social impact investing, and social impact bonds.

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