A Giving Strategy that Spans Generations

A Giving Strategy that Spans Generations

Almost a third of annual giving from donors happens in December, and most of that is within the last three days of the year. That means if nonprofits and philanthropies haven’t started their end-of-year giving campaigns, they could be missing out on significant dollars that can help advance their work in the coming year.


But nonprofits and philanthropies shouldn’t just focus on giving at the end of the year. Building relationships with donors and volunteers throughout the year—each and every year—is what ultimately leads to transformative gifts that truly catalyze change in our communities. It’s important to understand that transformative gifts come in all sizes and can happen unexpectedly, but they almost never happen when we don’t take the time to establish and sustain relationships with individuals and families that enable us to understand their charitable goals and help them meaningfully contribute to the causes they care about.


We know adults are more likely to give to charity if their parents gave to charity, so engaging the entire family is a great way to set up long-term giving relationships, including engaging Millennials and their parents. Contrary to popular belief, Millennial giving patterns are fairly consistent with Generation X and Baby Boomers. More than eight out of 10 Millennials gave to charity in 2018, and about four out of 10 are enrolled in a monthly giving program. It’s also worth noting that 30 percent of Generation Z has already donated to an organization. 


The parents and grandparents of Generation Z and Millennials (Generation Xers, Baby Boomers, and the Greatest Generation) make up the largest share of total giving at 89 percent, and over the next three decades, about $30 trillion will be passed down from Baby Boomers to Generation X to Millennials. Along with that anticipated transfer of wealth, we should be seriously considering how we transfer the giving behaviors, which will be extremely important for maintaining—and possibly increasing—the charitable resources available to communities in the coming years.


An important first step is finding ways to engage the entire family in giving and volunteering. Also, it’s critical for financial advisors to establish relationships with the children of their clients early on. Right now, fewer than one in five financial advisors meet with their clients’ children at least once a year, and almost 20 percent never meet with them at all. At the Community Foundation for Mississippi, we work with donors and their advisors to develop charitable giving strategies that engage entire families and leave a legacy that lasts forever. We have several tools available to assist professional advisors with efforts to discern their clients’ wishes and have meaningful conversations about them. If you’re ready to discuss how we can help you develop a philanthropic giving plan for your entire family, give us a call (601) 974-6044.