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The Next Generation of Philanthropy – Post 1

Nov 12, 2017

Candice Meth, the partner-in-charge of EisnerAmper’s Not-for-Profit Services Practice, moderated a discussion titled “The Next Generation of Philanthropy” featuring panelists Mary Galeti, executive director and vice-chair of The Tecovas Family Foundation (whose grandfather procured the barbed wire patent); Nathalie Molina Niño, founder of BRAVA Investments, which focuses on socially responsible investing targeted towards gender parity; and Brian Frederick, who serves as executive vice president of communications and development of the ALS Association.

The panelists identified themselves as “millennials’ and/or GenX. Mary mentioned that for family foundations, decision-making is facilitated if family members of different generations like each other. They further described millennials, Gen-Xers and other younger generations as people who mostly live their lives “out loud,” meaning through social media. In terms of how this affects philanthropy, Brian pointed out that perhaps the most successful charitable campaign in history may have been the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (“IBC”) that started in the summer of 2014.

But Brian pointed out that, although the IBC raised a tremendous amount of money by a huge number of (mostly) young people because of it being such a “cool” thing to do, that it did not have a legacy effect on his organization in terms of substantial numbers of new people who give on a continuing basis from year to year. He further said that they have not been able to duplicate the phenomenon even though they and other organizations have had numerous succeeding “(you name it) challenge” campaigns. His board wants to do everything on Facebook now because of the IBC success. However, it cannot be duplicated until and unless there is another new idea that also goes viral.

They all agreed that, while older generations of wealthy donors would feel honored to serve on boards of charitable organizations and give generously year after year,  younger generations generally are not as compelled to do so and they agreed that life lived through social media has been a big part of the reason. They talked about impact being one way of bringing in new continuing donors. Brian stressed the importance of showing younger donors who gave to the IBC the impact that raising such substantial new sums has had. He indicated that the IBC income has in some cases tripled the amount of research that could be done related to ALS and other such diseases. Informing young donors of how much closer science is getting to developing cures and treatments has had some “legacy” success. While younger generations may not need to “belong” as a social path, they are getting more involved, to some extent, because of the feeling of accomplishment they have from the “impact” of such results.

Mary indicated that simplifying the giving process helps. She said that no one wants paperwork anymore, and not just millennials. Online donations have helped that a lot.

Both Mary and Nathalie both spoke of various collaborations that they like to do. They talked of back-end resource sharing, such as letting other less substantial charitable organizations have the use their lawyers, accountants, and other resources.  Brian also spoke about efforts for several disease related organizations to coordinate activities.

Nathalie brought up that there are some new directions taking place in the philanthropy world. She mentioned that her organization is making a lot more decisions to fund projects that that will help young female entrepreneurs. They also have been putting a lot more money towards later stage health care education. She said that there is also a new trend in the relationship between individual donors and distributing organizations such as her own investment company. The organizations are making more of the decisions as to how the money is to be used and the donors less so basically relying on the organization to do a good job.

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