In our monthly column from Karen Minogue, Waccamaw Wisdom, we’ll unpack the latest in philanthropy and offer tips to make your giving more effective. Topic suggestions welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One thing’s for certain: The next generation of philanthropists will have substantial resources to make a serious impact on our community. While the “Great Transfer” from the Greatest Generation to the Baby Boomers is still taking place, a second and even larger wealth transfer from the Boomers to their heirs is starting now and will continue over the next 30 to 40 years. Studies show that more than $59 trillion will pass into the hands of the next generation by 2050, and this new crop of wealthy individuals — technology entrepreneurs, heirs to family fortunes and real estate wunderkinds — will control between $20 trillion and $30 trillion in charitable giving.
So how will the affluent do good?
The next generation is looking for ways to reinvent charity and move away from the traditional routes of writing checks and funding nonprofits. They’re very hands-on in their giving, and they believe in giving time and talent, not just treasure.
They want selection, choices, and want to know that organizations have been vetted for best practices and impact. Donors to Waccamaw Community Foundation of all ages, including the next generation of philanthropists, can trust that due diligence will be carried out by the Foundation, ensuring their gifts and grants make the most impact.
Donors want to trust what they’re giving to, and they want to have the tools to decide. Here at Waccamaw Community Foundation, we conduct site visits to organizations to learn more and get a first-hand look at an organization’s programs in action.
The form of giving with least impact for the next generation of philanthropists is waiting until they’ve had a career and made their money and retired to write checks. So what does ‘Next Gen’ Philanthropy look like?
The Next Generation of American Giving reveals multichannel preferences and charitable habits of Generation X, Generation Y, Baby Boomers and Matures. These preferences will have a big impact on philanthropy going forward!
For example, according to Blackbaud, the leading provider of nonprofit software and services, Boomers contribute 43 percent of all charitable giving.
All generations value a mix of online and offline communications and giving channels, but when it comes to volunteering, Gen Y talks the talk while Matures walk the walk. Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising are also gaining traction, largely with Gen X and Y.
One face of the NextGen is Franklin Burroughs (pictured at top). Franklin is an energetic 22-year old helping with research and data collection at Waccamaw Community Foundation this summer and the son of Kathleen and Edward E. Burroughs II. Kathleen and Edward lead by example, chairing many worthy charitable initiatives in the community. Kathleen also volunteers her time serving as the active co-chair of the Burroughs & Chapin Family Fund, a donor advised fund administered by Waccamaw Community Foundation.
Franklin is a senior at High Point University studying electronic media production. While he’s home on summer break, he’s helping us strengthen our mission and vision as the center of philanthropy in Horry and Georgetown counties. His volunteerism is a testament to the NextGen inclination to give time and talent, as well as treasure. Thank you, Franklin!
NextGen Senior Leaders
Not to be minimized is the importance of our work in engaging all generations in charitable giving and nonprofit leadership—not just 20-somethings. Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropic powerhouse, is often associated with this paradigm shift. Gates left Microsoft at 52, with the stated aim not of retiring but of refocusing his energy and expertise on philanthropy. His causes? Global health, tech startups and tech activism. And just as the new generation hopes to combine expertise with giving, the Gates Foundation also hope to spend — or invest — with charitable as well as financial returns, proving you don’t need to be a NextGen philanthropist to think with a NextGen mindset.
Our community is blessed with actively working and retired philanthropists of all ages. These individuals have much to offer in terms of their time and talents. But we know that engaging people early and meaningfully in philanthropy – and keeping them engaged at every stage of life – is essential to building the tomorrow we want to see in Horry and Georgetown counties. It’s never too late to get involved. If you have a passion for your community and enhancing the quality of life for all, reach out to us. We would be delighted to show you how you can get involved!