“Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy”. What a great title for the new nextgendonors.org report! The authors surveyed 310 Gen X and Gen Y’ers from families with more than $5 million in assets endowed for charity. “Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy” speaks to the continuity in values we often hear the younger generation express …. and to their hunger to get involved, to try new models and to just plain move faster!
Whom do you know who exhibits these traits the Next Gen study identified?
- Driven by values, not valuables
This is the same generation that won’t sacrifice family and personal time for a big paycheck. They aren’t all about money and they want their giving to reflect their personal values. And these values are highly influenced by what they learned about philanthropy from their parents (89%) and grandparents (63%)
- Impact first
Gen X and Gen Y givers want to be sure their giving is making a difference. They consider themselves responsible and strategic givers. They feel strongly about doing their “due diligence” and trying innovative approaches. They even dare to ask the daunting “so what?” question: “How has the situation really improved as a result of our grant?” They want to look at metrics and outcomes, even when they know those measure aren’t perfect, because they take their giving seriously.
- Time, treasure, talent and ties
Tomorrow’s big donors like be involved in hands-on ways in the causes they support. They want to do more than write a check. They believe they have relevant skills and knowledge to contribute and the relationships they build along the way matter to them. This generation also recognizes that their social networks are valuable, very valuable! They want to connect their friends, colleagues, even their service providers, to the work they care about. They are networked in almost everything they do. Their giving is no exception.
- Crafting their philanthropic identities
Although they tend to be very clear about their passions and desire to make the world a better place, Gen Ys, in particular, are still finding their way and still figuring out how to negotiate their roles in their family’s giving, roles that evolve as they go to work or become parents themselves. Their preferred method of learning is experiential. They don’t want to just read dockets; they want to go on site visits. They are more likely to value unscripted conversations with grantees than formal presentations, to do their own research and to ask more challenging questions than then their older counterparts. And they are not waiting until they are given permission to join the family foundation board to define themselves. They are experimenting and shaping their personalities as givers even as you read this post.
The #NextGenDonors survey tells a pretty exciting story. Let’s reach out and include these emerging philanthropists in all that we do!