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The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation predicts the charitable giving trends of 2020.

Jeremy Wells
Jeremy Wells, Senior Vice President of Philanthropic Services

Have you ever wondered if your giving follows the latest trends?

Charitable giving is a very personal choice and, at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, we pride ourselves on learning what matters most to you. It is a privilege to help you support nonprofits in our community that do amazing work.

Our team works with over 2,000 donors, just like you, to understand your charitable interests and support your philanthropic journeys.

As the largest community foundation in the state, we also have a deep understanding of the needs of our nonprofit sector, making it easy for us to help you identify the areas where you can make the most impact.

To better understand national and local giving trends, we tapped the knowledge of Jeremy Wells, our senior vice president of Philanthropic Services, to see if what we are experiencing locally matches up with the current national trends.

He identified four trends in philanthropy that we expect to see in 2020:

  • Increased generosity
  • Donating non-cash assets
  • Donors planning ahead
  • Emerging philanthropists

Increased Generosity

Q: What trends do we see in overall giving?

I expect to see continued growth in people’s generosity, both in their time and treasure.

Minnesotans are consistently generous with their time, which is also a national trend, especially amongst younger generations.

As for charitable giving, the markets have been strong, leading to greater investment returns and increased assets. This has led to consistent and, in some cases, increased, charitable giving. With an unknown future in front of us, we’ve heard from a growing number of philanthropists who plan on giving to and growing their donor advised funds in 2020 while the markets are still high and the tax benefits remain fairly untouched.

Donating Non-Cash Assets

Q: How are donors giving?

Along with a rise in charitable giving, we also expect an increased number of individuals choosing to support their charitable giving through the use of non-cash assets.

These non-cash assets may include gifts such as real estate, business interests and agricultural assets. This provides donors additional opportunities to support their favorite causes. Many donors don’t realize that things like their family cabin or shares in a private company can be donated — resulting in a tax benefit for donors and vital funding for nonprofits. Our staff has a lot of expertise and experience handling these types of complex assets.

Donors Planning Ahead

Q: How should donors think about future giving?

As we continue to see a significant transfer of wealth across the country, we anticipate a greater interest in donors thinking about their philanthropic legacies, particularly looking at how a community foundation can be their trusted partner.

Establishing a giving plan in a will or through a fund at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation continues to be a way for donors to involve their families in the organizations and issues they care about. This trend continues to be seen both locally and nationally.

Our donors have access to a one-of-a-kind digital donor toolkit that allows them to identify their charitable interests and draft a legacy letter for their loved ones. The exercises in the toolkit are an excellent way for folks to realize their giving values, so they can be shared and passed along to future generations.

In 2020, we expect to see more donors use philanthropy as a path to engage the next generation about the value of giving. The Foundation will also be investing more time and effort in conversations and activities that highlight the importance of planned giving.

Emerging Philanthropists

Q: Are there any emerging trends in who is giving?

Will we see a rise in new, generous donors? I believe so. We’ve seen consistent growth year-to-year on the number of funds opened by donors at the Foundation. Minnesotans are generous and community-minded.

I expect to see philanthropists, particularly newer philanthropists, continue to ask great questions. And by newer, we don’t necessarily mean younger. We see people of all ages finding new and innovative ways to express their philanthropy.

Giving is an infectious feeling. Young people who give their only $10 are most likely our future philanthropists. That feeling of giving to something greater than yourself cannot be measured or taken away.

We also anticipate an influx of new donors who may be influenced by the emergence of new giving opportunities for issues that hit closer to home. There has been increased interest in giving through impact investing and program related investments. We have a variety of tools such as these to support our donors’ charitable giving.

Interested in growing your philanthropic legacy in 2020? Contact one of our Philanthropic Services team members to start the conversation at 651.224.5463 or at

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