Next gen donors clearly want to be engaged in their giving. They want to be hands‐on, giving time and not just treasure. But the “Do Something Generation” is a far cry from the “Do Anything Generation.” Not all engagement is the same.
Ask next gen donors to just give money, and they will feel like a bank account. Ask them to contribute their skills, knowledge, or hard‐earned expertise, and they will go all in.
Even though they are only in their 20s and 30s, these next gen donors are, for the most part, highly educated, and many have substantial skills and experience. Some are successful entrepreneurs, some are lawyers, some run their family's large foundations, and so on. But just because next gen donors are eager to give their talent doesn't mean it's easy for them to do so. Some find that organizations only see them as a source of financial capital, not human capital. Others find that nonprofits that do try to engage them do so only in superficial ways that make little use of their specific skills and experience. Either way, the result is that donors feel underutilized, undervalued, and even disrespected. Obviously, donors who feel that way are not donors for long.
The worst case is when next gen donors feel they are treated “like an ATM and not like a person.” They want to be taken seriously as capable contributors who have more than money to give. They want to be seen as having both “means and a brain,” to be appreciated for ...