Listen to this podcast that I produced with a great team at the Foundation Center. It’s the first of four in our new GrantCraft series:

Shaping the Future of Philanthropy: Voices from Next Gen Donors

In this month-long series, we explore the values, motivations, and stories of the up-and-coming generation of philanthropists. This series complements research conducted by 21/64 and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University released earlier this year and our related GrantCraft analysis. Episodes will be released the next three Wednesdays, so check back to the GrantCraft website.

I also wrote a related blog post about how I connect personally with this episode and topic.

Wealthy Young Donors Push Charities to Show Results

Bottom line: This article argues that 20 and 30-somethings with wealth want to clearly see how their financial gift will advance a cause, but that they also respect established histories of giving in their family. Makes sense. I’m excited to see more stories in the coming years on what causes specifically millennial donors are giving to, and how exactly philanthropic gifts from these young, wealthy donors have impacted communities.

Wealthy Young Donors Push Charities to Show Results

Mobilizer Academy: New Leadership Opportunity

If you know a Millennial interested in developing leadership skills and tackling community needs, join‘s Mobilizer Academy to get access to training, mentors and fellow Millennial social change-makers. It’s not bound by geography or background; this is a phenomenal opportunity for anyone looking to make a difference. I have extreme confidence in this pilot program and look forward to following participants’ impact over their careers.

Learn more about the program, nominate someone, or apply today at And share this opportunity; applications are due December 19.

Does your organization want to know more about your younger donors and volunteers?

Yes? You should make your organization a Millennial Research Project partner!

Since 2010, more than 10,000 Millennials have participated in the Millennial Impact Research studies. The Millennial Impact Project is the most comprehensive research on Millennials, covering topics including how they (my generation) connect, involve and support causes. The intent of the research is to understand engagement preferences of the next generation of donors, volunteers and leaders. Building on previous research, the 2013 Millennial Impact Project will provide findings on the specific triggers that motivate Millennials to give, volunteer and lead.  The 2013 research will include two parts:

  • A nationally disseminated online survey to Millennials.
  • Video recorded feedback from Millennials on messaging and collateral – including direct mail & email solicitations, newsletters, social media posts, and nonprofit websites.

The goal is to understand the influence of peer engagement, design, and messaging and to help Millennials act in the moment. The research findings will be released in July 2013 at the next MCON, a virtual and in person conference on Millennial engagement.

Organizations can participate in the Millennial Research Project as a Distribution Partner (help disseminate the 2013 online survey to Millennial constituents) or Content Partner (providing materials like newsletters, solicitations, and volunteer recruitment flyers to directly advance research). Both have benefits, of course!

I care about this research, because our generation, the Millennial generation, is an important constituency that has not always had the best reputation. But, we’re already making impact, and we can make more by better understanding and tapping into our potential. Research works; it makes skills and tools for engagement concrete, and it proves a track record of engagement. The more organizations that participate, the more accurate and helpful the data gathered will be. I don’t want to see just the top tier of engaged organizations, for instance, participate, because the research wouldn’t be representative. With a greater, more diverse, pool of participants, I think our communities and country can really learn something and leverage the Millennial generation for good.

Weekly #MillennialChat Builds Reach and Success

When I can, I participate in the weekly Millennial Chats held over Twitter. The reach is actually staggering; last week’s special chat about the Millennial Impact Report included 547 tweets that reached an audience of 1,423,994 followers. I was among the tweeters, and even if you weren’t following the conversation, you can check it all out here. What I like about these chats is the momentum, the connectivity, and the reinforcement of shared values in a generation. 

TOMORROW, July 19, is an all day virtual conference called MCON12 about all aspects of millennial engagement. It will feature more than 30 high-quality speakers on a range of topics. Plus, for folks like me who can’t attend all day, all conference materials will be available with registration for a year. It’s not a large price tag to gain tremendous insight to and connection with the values and abilities of my generation, so check it out.

What is TIME magazine really trying to say in this billboard? It feels condescending to my generation; that’s for sure. I’m glad they have us figured out, and that baby boomers will delight in purchasing the magazine to understand the problems of the millennial generation.

Are we frivolous and have no pragmatic grounding by being optimistic? Would you like to employ us even without collegiate and graduate degrees? Are we unemployed simply because we’re complacent living with parents? Are you talking to us saying that we’ll better understand things with time, or talking to older generations saying that TIME can explain this strange set of people known as millennials?

I’m not arguing that TIME doesn’t know what it’s talking about (it more or less gets it), but this advertisement at 51st and Broadway in NYC isn’t going to increase readership within my demographic; that’s for sure.

OUR TIME translates the news

  • 41% of Americans believe that young adults have been hit the hardest by the recession.

  • Only a third of 18-34 year olds rate their financial situation as “excellent” or “good.”

  • Young adults working full time have median weekly earnings of $448, about 6 percent less than in 2007.

Why we should care: The prospects for our generation appear bleak, with income declining, high joblessness, and significant debt from credit cards and college. Even older generations agree that we’ve been dealt a lousy deck of cards.

(via today’s Translation)

OUR TIME uses, facts, brevity, and wit to summarize current events and news in ways that provoke dialogue and potentially catalyze action. It’s going to be the next big thing; I’m calling it now. Join the movement!