Strategic Time Horizons in Philanthropy

Strategic time horizons are increasingly becoming the subject of thoughtful discussions within philanthropic organizations, causing a shift away from in-perpetuity models as the default approach. Driven by our mission to help donors around the world create thoughtful and effective philanthropy, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors is exploring how these decisions are being made, and how they impact the overall approach and operations of donors and their institutions.

Based on years of experience and engagement with funders around the world on the topic of strategic time horizons, RPA’s guides and case studies provide an overview and practical considerations for philanthropies seeking to be more intentional about their time horizons in giving.

New: Global Survey Findings on Strategic Time Horizons and Trends in Philanthropy

This publication is part of a multiyear initiative that examines the inner workings, trends, practices, and challenges of global philanthropy through a time horizons lens, which determines the length of time for which a philanthropic organization chooses to be active. Based on a survey of 150 organizations from 30 countries, the report includes a global exploration of various dimensions of strategic time horizons and examines strategies and operations, as well as perceived advantages and disadvantages of different philanthropic timeframes. This is the only global research about philanthropy that includes views not only on reasons for giving, but on causes, geographic flow of funding, giving timeframes, decision-making and next-generation involvement.

View the launch webinar that highlights findings here:

 

Guidance for Funders

For funders looking for practical insight on getting started in the consideration of strategic time horizons, the following resources are available:

  • A two-volume guide on Strategic Time Horizons in Philanthropy (part of the Philanthropy Roadmap series)

Volume I: Key Trends and Considerations 

Volume II: Strategy in Action: Global Trends and Strategic Time Horizons in Philanthropy 2022

  • A compilation of foundation case studies

In Their Own Words: Foundation Stories and Perspectives on Time-Limited Philanthropy

  • Webinar featuring the Edward W. Hazen Foundation and the Skillman Foundation (February 2021) – Strategic Time Horizons in Philanthropy: A Conversation on Foundation Perspectives and Experiences

 

2020 Survey Reports

Our 2020 research is captured in two reports that examine the inner workings, trends, practices, and challenges of family and institutional philanthropy on a global scale through a time horizon lens. This is the only global research about philanthropy that includes views not only on reasons for giving, but on causes, giving geographies, time horizons, decision-making and next-generation involvement. The research reveals interesting trends and findings on:

  • The growth of time-limited philanthropy over the last two decades.
  • How families in the United States, Europe and Asia involve the next generation in their philanthropy.
  • Top reasons for giving, and how those reasons are impacted by time horizons.
  • Vehicles for giving, by region and by donor type.
  • Perceptions of effectiveness of different strategic time horizons.

Access the reports using the links below:

Global Trends and Strategic Time Horizons in Family Philanthropy: Created in partnership with Campden Wealth, this report reflects findings from a survey and interviews with over 200 ultra-high net worth families engaged in philanthropy.

Strategic Time Horizons: A Global Snapshot of Foundation Approaches: Focused on foundation giving, this report includes a global exploration of various dimensions of strategic time horizons and examines strategies and operations, as well as perceived advantages and disadvantages of different philanthropic timeframes.

Through the insights from this research, we hope to create resources for funders that advance the field and practice of philanthropy. We are grateful to The Atlantic Philanthropies for their continued support of, and contributions to, this work.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash.