Encouraging Your Grad’s Brand of Philanthropy

by | May 21, 2015

If one of the first words out of a toddler’s mouth is no, then why is fast behind it. Parents spend a lot of time fielding innocent why questions from children and in later years the frustrating and demanding why questions from teenagers.

By the time they graduate they probably aren’t asking why questions in earnest very often. Of course by graduation time they assume they have most of the answers they need to plunge into life. In the face of the all-knowing teen I suggest we encourage them to continue to ask why.

Why is a valuable word when aimed the right direction. Encourage your high school graduate and college student to use it to inform their decisions.

Two years ago I made a site visit to a nonprofit accompanied by a young college student. The best part of the site visit was when I turned to the college student and said “what else should we ask them?”  

My companion had several excellent questions. After the staff fielded the questions they had questions of their own about young donors. It was a great site visit for everyone.

Worth Reading: (Editorial by an 18 year old on the 2013 Millennial Impact Research Project.)

A personal brand of philanthropy is already growing with this young person. The millennial generation is already giving.

  • They use their phones to make donations. According to a study by the PEW Research Center, Real Time Charitable Giving, during the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, $43 million was contributed by text message from cell phones. 30 percent of those mobile text donors were between 18 and 29 years old.
  • According to a 2015 report 50 Fascinating Nonprofit Statistics 16 percent of all giving was made from an email device and 20 percent of all fundraising event registration from a mobile device.
  • They give to an average of 3 nonprofits each year.
  • They want their donations to have an impact and want to see their donation at work.
  • They’re interested in attacking the root causes of issues, want information and share it with their friends.

They are quickly becoming smart donors. Asking questions will make them smarter.

Here are some Quick Tips on helping your high school grad or college student grow their giving brand.

  • Encourage them to continue volunteering and fundraising for causes they care about.
  • Remind them to ask why questions.
  • Be curious about what they are learning and what interests them.

So, how’s my college friend doing? I now hear about the answers to questions asked during frequent college-based volunteer and fundraising opportunities, questions many seasoned donors fail to ask.

It’s never too late to get started asking questions.  So, it’s never too late for you to encourage it.  When they’re home over summer, at holiday breaks, between terms take them with you when you volunteer. Encourage them to be seen and heard. They will grow, you will grow and the organization will be better.

With summer nearly upon us and before your almost-adult child runs out the door toward the freedom of college, find moments to encourage their volunteer-fundraising spirit. Enjoy watching their own brand develop.

Want to talk more about their brand and how to encourage them? Give me a call or email me.


1 Comment

  1. Donna Spann

    Dawn – Thank you so much for this great Journal entry. I have shared it on my Capstone Facebook. It will be a great read for my students and parents! Thanks for all you do.



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