As a member of Generation X, I was particularly intrigued by Emily Davis’ Fundraising and the Next Generation: Tools for Engaging the Next Generation of Philanthropists (Wiley, 2012). She examines the philanthropic philosophies of Generation X and Y (also known as the Millennials) and offers advice on engaging these generations in fundraising and volunteer efforts.
The book is based on extensive research and two generational surveys, one of which was conducted in 2011 and concentrated on Generation X and Y. Some information she provides includes the giving capacity of both generations. Generation X can be recruited for lifelong and annual giving, and as potential future major donors. Millennials, on the other hand, can be relied on mostly for online giving. She also found that while Gen X-ers tend to use giving to accomplish their goals, Millennials use it as a tool to make a difference in the world.
“Engaging Philanthropy’s Next Generation” (Chapter 3) is the heart of the book and offers practical tips and advice for cultivating donors from these post-Boomer generations. Davis examines when and how much these "Next Gen" donors give, and how they learn about the organizations they donate to (surprisingly, over 80% learn through word of mouth, more than social media and web sites combined). She also emphasizes that younger donors like a good event—whether it is virtual or in-person. Other recommendations she suggests include partnering with young professional groups, walk-a-thons, and peer-to-peer networking to make philanthropic connections. The chapter concludes with a case study of GenNext, a program designed to engage young professionals in their 20s and 30s with the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
The rest of the book covers the use of online communications (with an emphasis on online social media) and using volunteering as a way to recruit these donors. Davis also discusses how to recruit Next Gen board members. Appendices provide many helpful documents, including a social media planning worksheet, a board recruitment plan, and even a blog post template.
Fundraising and the Next Generation can be found in our Atlanta, Cleveland, DC, and New York libraries under call number 743 DAV. Similar online sources include Convio's Next Generation of American Giving and Deloitte's Volunteer IMPACT Survey, which examined volunteerism activities and employee engagement of adults aged 21-35.
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