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‘Next-Gen’ Donors – How the Profile of Donors is Shifting

The current group of new donors comes from the Generation X and Millennials who are introducing disruptive new technology and strategies for philanthropy in the same way that they have introduced the new technology and companies that have made them trillions. Around $60 trillion to be precise.

The Profile of a ‘Next Gen’ Donor

Always looking for new ways to improve old systems and for innovative solutions to systemic issues, the profile of a ‘next-gen’ donor is much the same. The new power-donors are the CEOs of some of the most disruptive and innovative companies on the planet and they are using their massive monetary value to transform and innovate philanthropy by tackling some of the largest and longest-standing social challenges facing the world.
Not content to just give locally, though that is still a significant trend when it comes to donations in education in the US, the current crop of philanthropists are showing that they want to focus on evidence-based programs while introducing new experimental foundations and projects that are driven by metrics and results. This change in the profile of donors could signal the next-gen trend in the impact of large-scale giving.
The profile of a ‘next-gen’ donor is also markedly different from other traditional types of philanthropists in that they are extremely hands-on and involved in shaping the foundations and programs to which they donate. Some pundits are hailing this the ‘Impact Revolution’ in philanthropy and it will shape the profile of donors and donations for future generations. Though the profile of issue areas has not shifted for the ‘next-gen’ donors (education and basic needs still top the list across all generations) the way that donations are given is completely different. The emerging trend of charities pursuing profitability has had several detractors and critics, but it is part and parcel of the way that ‘next-gen’ donors are able to align their charitable giving with their personal values.

The Golden Age of Giving – Who is Changing the World of Philanthropy?

One of the most impactful ‘next-gen’ philanthropists are Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan <> with the development of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, not as a traditionally styled foundation, but as a charitable LLC. This simple innovation allows them to invest in businesses that are socially active as well as political ventures in addition to being able to make donations to traditional charitable programs and projects. Alexander Soros, while following in his father’s footsteps on the board of the Open Society Foundations, has made sure that his own philanthropy is focused on seeing the direct impact of investments in social programs on a large scale. Lukas Walton, Dustin Moskovitz, Huiyan Yang and Nathan Blecharczyk from AirBnB are just a few of the ‘next-gen’ donors that are changing the way that philanthropy operates, and their efforts will shape the course of philanthropy for future generations.
They’re determined to make an impact and address issues on a global scale and see that change in their own lifetimes.

Give It All Away

On December1, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, announced the birth of their first child with the news that they would be giving away 99% of their shares in Facebook during their lifetime, to charity. The couple announced the news in an emotional letter to their daughter on Facebook along with the news that the couple would form the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to manage the Facebook shares, which are reported to be valued at around $45 billion. In an interesting twist, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is not a foundation or charitable trust, but has been registered as a limited liability company (LLC). It’s a decision that has not been without controversy. The choice of an LLC, however, ensures that the couple will have more control over the management of the company, where the proceeds from the shares are distributed and undoubtedly better tax incentives.

More Billionaires Give It All Away

While the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative intends to closely manage the fortune that Zuckerberg has pledged, other billionaires are also pledging to give away large portions, if not all of their billions, within their lifetime. That is the key difference between the modern billionaire entrepreneur and the philanthropists of a bygone era. In the past, philanthropists tended to start making donation, creating charitable foundations and giving away their fortunes rather later in life, some even posthumously. It’s quite different in today’s world. More billionaires than ever are pledging, not only their money, but their time, energy and influence to make a difference within their lifetimes.

The Giving Pledge – How to Give It All Away in your Lifetime

Though The Giving Pledge only started to gain momentum in 2010, it started, in principle in 2006 with Warren Buffet’s pledge to give away much of his fortune, within his lifetime to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The growth, and subsequent success, of The Giving Pledge has ensured that many more billions will reach the people, foundations and philanthropic organizations sooner.