Friday, May 31, 2013

Engaging The Next Generation----Maybe

by Gary Snyder

A rising generation of younger donors and philanthropic leaders could bring new money to nonprofits and fresh energy to their boardrooms—if boards can overcome their current dysfunction enough to engage them.
Next-gen donors’ appetite for engagement was cited earlier this year in one of the first large studies of high-capacity donors in their 20s and 30s ---a report that received grant support from the Meyer Foundation.
Next-gen donors as driven by personal values, often those transmitted from their parents and grandparents, and motivated primarily by a desire for social impact rather than a sense of obligation or a need for recognition.

Perhaps most significant for nonprofits and their boards was the desire of younger donors to go “all in” once they engage: to develop close relationships with the organizations and causes they support, to offer their personal and professional talents in support of the cause, and to encourage their peers to give and participate as well.

Yet despite their appetite for deep engagement, younger donors are likely to be put off by board service unless boards can improve the way they function.
A decade’s worth of research suggests that board performance is at best uneven and at worst highly dysfunctional. A majority of executive directors are at least somewhat dissatisfied with their board’s performance; many are very dissatisfied. Large numbers of trustees report low levels of engagement across almost every area of board responsibility. For far too many people, serving on a board is a frustrating and daunting experience, and many trustees wonder whether their service is making a difference. The experience of serving on a board—unless it is high functioning, superbly led, supported by a skilled staff, and working in a true partnership with the executive—is often quite the opposite of engaging.
To engage them, nonprofit boardrooms need to become welcoming places where real work gets done. Nonprofit executives need to get better at tapping the expertise and networks of their trustees. And boards need to have more serious conversations about impact.


Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics, Newsweek.com, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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