Next Gen Donors: Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy

Publication Date: July 18, 2013

The next generations of major philanthropists come from “Gen X” (born 1964-1989) or “Gen Y/Millenial” (born 1981-2000). Although they are a relatively small group, they will inherit over $40 trillion; donate much of it; and shape the future of philanthropy.

Results were drawn from a national online survey (310 total responses) and 30 in-depth interviews, to find out how next gen donors express themselves and their philanthropic strategies (as opposed to summarizing what others have said about this influential group). Study participants ranged in age from 21 to 40 when the study was conducted in 2012.


1. Driven by Values, Not Valuables. They are mindful of their inherited privileges and respectful of their family’s legacy. This group of donors uses new philanthropic and investing tools.

2. Impact First: They want impact they can see, and they want to know that their own involvement has contributed to that impact. They want to use any necessary strategies, assets, and tools — new or old — for greater impact.

3. Time, Talent, Treasure, and Ties: They want to meaningfully participate by sharing their personal and professional talents, and through collaboration with peers, with whom they are highly networked.

4. Crafting Their Philanthropic Identities: Many are in their twenties and developing a sense of themselves in tandem with who they are as donors. They learn and grow by seeing and doing. Their philanthropic identity formation matters societally to all who are affected by major philanthropy.

Copyright 2013.

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