‘It isn’t that the next generation is so different. You’ve just forgotten what it was like to be young.’ That was the startling statement that an employment expert – at the time in his seventies – made to a group of corporate executives in their forties and fifties.
In our experience at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the next gen does approach philanthropy and social change very differently from prior generations, but often that’s driven by how the world has changed, not by how their DNA has changed. Our newest donor guide, on next gen philanthropy, explores how these forces are playing out.
Younger donors have a much more global outlook because they live in a globally connected world. They’re much more likely to have been educated in part outside their home country, and to have early work assignments in other countries. They develop communities of contacts, colleagues and friends in far-flung places.
And they were born into the internet era, which means they have a set of tools at their disposal, from mobile giving to search engines to crowdsourcing, that previous generations never saw. Their toolkit for change also includes social enterprise and impact investing, options that scarcely existed for their parents and grandparents.
Younger philanthropists also turn to social enterprise and impact investing because they’ve concluded that market forces, rather than government, multilaterals and traditional non-profits, will be best able to bring about sustainable, systemic change. Their world view is much more integrated, and the parts of their life much more seamlessly connected. So they don’t see the need to separate their social-change capital and activity from their investment-driven capital and activity.
That next gen perspective, simultaneously challenging and inspiring, is shaping our world for their children and grandchildren.
Melissa A Berman
President and CEO, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, USA