National Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Steve Delfin leaves the foundation at a time when the patterns of how and why Americans contribute to charitable or nonprofit efforts are changing in ways that favor credit unions and the credit union approach to providing financial services.Delfin previously announced that he had resigned from as executive director of the foundation, effective Dec. 31 in order to take a job as CEO of America’s Charities.“I think there are a number of different things that are coming together that will favor the National Credit Union Foundation and its programs over the next three to five years,” Delfin said, during a final interview with Credit Union Times as executive director. “I am very proud of the foundation and its board that the organization is positioned in a way that will enable it to take advantage of the new opportunities.”One of the biggest changes taking place in the broader philanthropic landscape involves a move from the general in charitable giving to the specific. According to surveys conducted by philanthropic organizations and foundations, American’s are changing why they donate to charitable organizations as well as which organizations they support.A generation ago Americans donated to a charitable or nonprofit organization because they endorsed an organization’s effort or cause. Now, they are more likely to donate because it will help them fulfill what they see as their own personal, specific agenda or mission.On the one hand this could be seen as a more self-centered form of giving, Delfin acknowledged, but on the other hand financial support given from that motivation tends to be stickier or more lasting than the other kind.“There is an increased emphasis on the personal in charitable giving now and on the question of impact than years ago,” Delfin explained. People who donate want to know how much impact their donations have and, if possible, to see the faces and learn about the lives of the people they help.Another shift in philanthropic patterns is a move among many charities away from relying primarily on large grant makers, such as foundations and trusts, to recruiting a broader base of smaller donors. Delfin pointed out that one of the things that has come to light during this recession is that charitable efforts that built their fundraising around grants from foundations and trusts are, in general, suffering more than those that built fundraising on smaller donations from more donors.“When the large donors got into trouble and cut back on their giving, those charities suffered. But organizations which have had a larger base of smaller donors, while still struggling, have not been struggling as much,” Delfin noted.

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