Asking Questions Inspires Generosity Across Generations
From classic poetry to rock songs to Internet memes, people have complained about the generational divide for a long time. When it comes to philanthropy and community building, however, there is a lot at stake for generations to work and talk together.
GTCF explored the challenges and opportunities around fostering generosity across generations through two events in May. National experts from 21/64, a nonprofit specializing in family philanthropy, shared research and insights into how families, professional advisers, and nonprofits can communicate effectively to different generations.
Michael Moody, co-author of the book, “Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors are Revolutionizing Giving”, highlighted the fact that Gen X and Millenial donors approach philanthropy with a focus on funding change. They are more inclined to experimental approaches, greater organizational involvement, and a goal of visible impact. Using the term “Impact Revolution”, he compared the way next generation donors will change philanthropy to the way the Internet changed entertainment.
Such a huge shift in philanthropy could bring great rewards as well as disruption to traditional approaches to charity. According to 21/64, fostering conversation and compassion between generations is the key to realizing the positive potential of the Impact Revolution.
“Leveraging curiosity is important. As funders and change makers, we have to understand things before we can set out to change them, and I think we have to take that to heart with our own families and communities.” – 21/64 Managing Director Danielle Oristian York
It all starts with asking questions according to 21/64 Managing Director Danielle Oristian York, “Leveraging curiosity is important. As funders and change makers, we have to understand things before we can set out to change them, and I think we have to take that to heart with our own families and communities.”
Barbara Taylor, 21/64 Director, led a two-day training for nonprofit professionals. The 21/64 approach includes exercises around values, vision, and appreciative inquiry, “Nobody has a solution to impose on the next generation, so having a consultative approach is important.”
One tool developed by 21/64 uses question prompts to get people talking about historic milestones and how those events helped shape the ideals, values, and stereotypes of each generation. Those kind of conversations can help family members develop empathy and a shared understanding of each other’s unique philanthropic goals.
Generation Bridging Questions
What do you want your legacy to be?
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
What was the most impactful gift you’ve ever made?
What values motivate your giving?
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken?
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made or failure you had?
GTCF’s Philanthropic Services staff are trained in 21/64 techniques and able to help facilitate your family conversations. In addition, GTCF offers a wide range of philanthropic tools and insights to support your charitable goals. Reach out to GTCF’s donor services to find out how individual philanthropy can make a difference for the causes that matter to your family.