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Engaging the Next Generation in Philanthropy

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

We listened to a recent webinar organized by Glenmede titled “The Next Generation of Philanthropy,” which featured Sharna Goldseker, an author and founder of nonprofit 21/64. Goldseker, a noted expert on engaging Next Gen donors, shared research, and advice for engaging the next generation* in philanthropy. Below are some of the points that we took away from her presentation.

  1. Next Gen approach giving differently than their elders.

    1. Goldseker noted that the Next Gen perceive themselves to be motivated by impact and strategic difference, while they perceive their elders to be connected to organizations through heartstring ties or relationships.

    2. Next Gen want to fund root causes and see themselves as partners with community and nonprofits in helping move the needle. In other words, it’s important to build the relationships with Next Gen, whether that’s through connecting with them as donors, as volunteers, or both.

  2. Transmitting values to the Next Gen matters.

    1. Goldseker explained that younger generations care about and have a sense of respect for legacy.

    2. She encouraged webinar listeners to share and align values with other generations who want to become involved in philanthropy.

  3. Next Gen are eager to give back in a variety of ways.

    1. From research conducted, Goldseker explained that 75% of Next Gen volunteer before the age of 15, and 50% donate before the age of 21. “They’re eager to become involved,” she said.

  4. Find ways to engage Next Gen.

    1. Next Gen philanthropists eager to become involved, interested in learning about family values, and curious about strategic philanthropy. All these point to a passion and interest for the Next Gen in giving back. If you want to engage them in your family’s philanthropy, do so sooner rather than later!

If you’re interested in diving into research about Next Gen giving, we encourage you to check out this blog post by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. You can also check The Millennial Impact Report research by Derrick Feldmann.

*Next Gen is difficult to define. For these purposes, consider it as the millennial generation (born approximately 1981/2-1996/7) and Gen Z (born apx. 1997/8-early 2010s).

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