Next Generation Donors Plan for Greater Impact
19 February 2013 at 9:03 am
A study of the next generation of major donors in the US , aged between 21 to 40, reveals that they are driven by values and not ‘valuables’ and they have the potential to become the most significant philanthropists in history.
The Next Gen Donors research project was a collaboration of 21/64 (www.2164.net) and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy.
The study found that the ‘next gen’ donors, more than previous generations, value, seek out, and learn from meaningful, hands-on engagement in their philanthropy.
It found that “because these next gen donors come from families with wealth and philanthropic resources, are members of generations experiencing rapid social changes, and are currently in important developmental stages of their lives, many would expect them to be entitled by privilege, careless with legacy, and eager for change.”
However, the researchers said they discovered quite the opposite.
“Values drive these next gen major donors, not valuables – values they often say they have learned from parents and grandparents,” the report said.
“They are mindful of the privilege they have inherited or that comes with the wealth they are creating. They seek a balance between honoring family legacy and assessing the needs and tools of the day.”
The study is based on data acquired through online surveys and in depth interviews.
The study found that young donors give using many of the same methods that their families use, but they want to explore new philanthropic and investing tools as well and often highlight the importance of strategy for the future of their giving.
Once engaged, the report said, these next gen major donors want to go “all in.”
“Giving without significant, hands-on engagement feels to them like a hollow investment with little assurance of impact.”
“They want to develop close relationships with the organizations or causes they support; they want to listen and offer their own professional or personal talents, all in order to solve problems together with those whom they support.
“They have grown up volunteering, and they still want to offer their time, but in more meaningful ways, not just holding a seat on a gala organizing committee.
The researchers have set up a website to help begin a conversation about the data, to share how it has helped with experimenting with other strategies for engaging the next gen and to provide other feedback for the Not for Profit sector to improve family philanthropy.
Scholars calculate that the U.S. is currently undergoing a massive “wealth transfer” process and that at least $41 trillion will transfer as bequests to the post-Baby Boom generations over the first half of the 21st century. This large amount of wealth has led some observers to predict a new “golden age of philanthropy” (Havens and Schervish, 1999) as much of this wealth becomes available for charitable purposes.