More than a key trend, the increase in regional philanthropy over the last twelve months is an indicator that leaders of traditional manufacturing industries are starting to make a serious philanthropic impact by giving back through giving into the regions in which they operate. The age of technology dawned in the late 1980’s with the rapid expansion of tech and fintech empires in major coastal cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and the Bay Area, including Palo Alto, which meant that philanthropy tended to be concentrated in those areas as well. If you wanted to get funding for your non-profit organization, you had to make a bi-coastal pitch to be considered. It also meant that smaller, community-based organizations were getting lost in the billionaires’ race to fund global projects.
Not any more…

9 Wisconsin Billionaires on Forbes List

It’s not just important to note that in 2018 there were nine billionaires from Wisconsin on the Forbes List, but that there were eleven from Colorado and Arizona, and many more besides. One just needs look through the latest billionaire’s list from Forbes to see that many of the billionaires, and the largest philanthropists, were from more traditional industries including manufacturing, automotive, energy and real estate, and that many of the biggest ‘givers’ were not based along the northeast corridor or in west coast tech cities. We’re not just talking billionaires either, multi-millionaires are found in almost every city in the USA. The extent of the geographic disbursement of big donors is evident in the number of regional universities and colleges that received large donations in 2017. Ohio State and Indiana University were among the top fund raisers in 2017.

Community Giving Trends in 2018

If you represent a community organization and you’re looking for the best way to raise money and increase donations in 2018, then you need to start at home. Start in your community, your city and then your state. The more information that you can give to potentials large donors about the community impact that your organization will make, the better chance you’ll have of securing a larger donation.

How to Approach Local Philanthropists

Make a list of philanthropists and philanthropic organizations in your state and start applying to grant programs and foundations. You may find that there is even less administration than usual if you’re staying in-state.
A community approach to fundraising and philanthropy is, by its nature, very specific and targeted. For the most part, it will include creating and building relationships between your donors, your organization and the people or programs that you support. This sort of personal approach can be an important part of the donation process. You won’t be one of a mass group of global non-profits vying for a small piece of an impersonal pie, you’ll be one of just a handful of organizations doing good work in the local community, a known and trusted community. Even if you are applying to a national foundation, be sure to check and see if they have any local programs that you can apply to first.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your local billionaire industrialist. If your organization can demonstrate that it will help the community in your town or your state, you have more than a fair chance at getting some significant donations in 2018. More and more philanthropists are stepping forward to become involved in programs on a local level.