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Next Gen Donors: respecting legacy, revolutionising philanthropy

Next Gen Donors: respecting legacy, revolutionising philanthropy

News (International)

The volume of funds, foundations and other giving among young Americans from high-net-worth families is expanding to unprecedented levels, according to a report released in February by the Johnson Center for Philanthropy and non-profit consulting group 21/64.

Next Gen Donors says that although more $40 trillion will be inherited over the first half of this century, with much of it destined for charitable giving, little is known about young philanthropists and what motivates them. Although they do not want to re-write the rulebook on philanthropy, key trends are evident from the report’s survey of 310 21-40 year olds in the US, it states.

The report finds that the next generation of major donors are:

  1. Driven by values, not valuables. They are mindful of the privilege they have inherited or that comes with the wealth they are creating. They seek a balance between honouring family legacy and assessing the needs of the day.
  2. Impact first: They see philanthropic strategy as the major distinguishing factor between themselves and previous generations. They intend to change how giving decisions are made.
  3. Time, talent, treasure, and ties: They live in a highly connected world where one can gather information from a huge multitude of sources. The report finds that they aim to use their peer networks to do more good.
  4. Crafting their philanthropic identities: Rather than waiting until the sunset of their lives to decide who they are as philanthropists and what legacies they want to leave, these next gen major donors actively craft their identities and actively think about their own legacies.

“The next generations of major philanthropists, those who fit into “Gen X” (born 1964-1980) or “Gen Y/Millenial” (born 1981-2000) generational cohorts, will have tremendous influence on the direction of and support for efforts to improve local communities and solve global problems over the next several decades,” the report states.

Richard Harrison, head of research at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) said that the main thrust of the report matched the findings of CAF's research for The Future Stars of Philanthropy. He told Philanthropy Impact: "This generation has a degree of ambition in their giving and want to be within touching distance of their impact."

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