Tue, January 29 2013

The next generation of donors are serious about change

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

A report on wealthy Next Gen donors from 21/64 and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy finds that surveying 310 major donors including in-depth interviews with 30 high-net-worth Generation X and Millennial individuals care about impact and want to feel personally tied to the causes they support.  Family heavily influences their choices of causes.  They are similar to other donors in these ways - but distinct in how serious they are about making real change and how heavily they use technology to engage with causes.

The study found:

• Next generation donors want meaningful, hands-on engagement with the causes that they care about and want to develop close relationships with the organizations they give to, giving their time and talent as well as their treasure.

• Next generation donors are highly networked with their peers, learning about causes from trusted friends and sharing philanthropic experiences with peer networks.

• Next generation donors seek to maintain the difficult balance of respecting the legacy of previous generations and revolutionizing philanthropy for greater impact, aiming to use new, innovative, even risky strategies to make their giving more effective.

• For next generation donors, philanthropy is a part of who they are; it is not just something they do. They start developing their philanthropic identity from an early age by learning through hands-on experiences looking to older generations, and they are eager for new personal experiences that will help them learn to be better philanthropists. 

image from report

The results were based on a survey of 310 major donors including in-depth interviews with 30 high-net-worth Generation X and Millennial individuals.  I find the results quite consistent with other studies I’ve reviewed here, which makes me put stock in them. You can review the whole report here.

  • Comment: (1)   


Thanks for this piece addressing the innovative thinking required to produce a platform and message that will resonate with the next generation of philanthropists. At Bright Funds, we are working to “crack the nut” and tap into the generosity and passion of the “millenial” generation. Since our platform launch in November, we have seen firsthand the interest that this generation has in connecting with peers across a broad spectrum of forums to discuss philanthropy.

Especially using social media, “Gen Y” is eager to tell its stories and share compelling narratives dealing with the most important causes of the day.  Every donor thinks about philanthropy in a unique way and that’s what makes the challenge so exciting. Finding the motivation behind each user is what makes it both challenging and exciting for our marketing team. There is no one answer in terms of engaging this audience, so we are trying our hand at a many different approaches. Some have worked. Some definitely have not. And with some of our techniques, the jury’s still out. We’ll keep you posted on our journey to connect the millenials with their causes!

Thanks for the post!

Paul B.

Posted by Paul from Bright Funds  on  02/01  at  08:04 PM

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