Communities in search of communities

Here's a question I get asked a lot: "How do we reach out to ____ as donors? They just don't seem interested in giving. They are not very philanthropic." You can fill in the blank. You can also guess who asks this question. (You might also be able to guess at my frustration regarding the analysis behind the question).

If the "they" are people younger than the person asking the question, chances are good that the old fogey asking the question has not a clue about what younger people do with their money, do with their time, talk about with their friends, or think about their community. Here's one way to find out (asking them directly is, of course, another).

Check out the Under 30 honor roll of personal finance blogs and the Personal Finance Blog Aggregator. Read what they have to say. Listen. It almost always works.

1 comment:

joyful girl said...

Great post! I feel your pain. As a gen-Xer interested in philanthropy and social change, I find that many nonprofits are just starting to look at my generation as a source of funding, but still are not ready to change their approach to meet the needs of the next generation philanthropist. As you point out in your post, it sometimes feels like they aren't doing their homework and they aren't listening. (And they are still calling us slackers fifteen years later :) )

The research that I have seen mostly shows that the younger generation is less comfortable just throwing money at the problem. They want to be involved and contribute their skills as well as their dollars. Thus we are seeing more venture philanthropy, capacity building grant-making, and volunteerism. I think that this is a positive trend because it seems that the donation of time would lead to more lasting and engaged donor/donee relationships. Do you know if there has been any research done on the quality of relationship that is being formed as the younger generation steps up and gets involved?