Recruit families and save Gen X

Will members of Generation X give of their time and income to your cause?

Senior Man SeriesIf they don’t, will you know why?

Researcher Mark Ottoni Wilhelm wants to help you find out. He’s the founding director of the Center of Philanthropy Panel Study (COPPS), the most nationally representative study of giving over time ever conducted.

By studying COPPS data, Wilhelm and his colleagues discovered a correlation – not necessarily a cause-effect relationship, but a link – between a person’s family stability when he was a child and his willingness to volunteer or give a financial gift as an adult.

His findings gave Wilhelm ideas.

“If we develop adolescents’ philanthropic consciousness, there is a direct benefit to society,” he said.

“As parents, we can make sure that our adolescent children have opportunities to donate some of their own funds to charitable causes,” he also said.

It should give you some ideas, too. In your materials, suggest ways that donors’ children can donate a portion of their allowance or summer-job income, and make sure you thank the kids appropriately when they do.

If you need volunteers and you can accept youngsters, refer to this study and encourage parents to bring their children. Point out the long-term benefits of their kids’ participation – not just to those who benefit from your organization, but to the volunteers’ families, too.

Feature their photos or stories in your publications or on your Web site.

Being involved in your non-profit can become a family affair, something most parents are craving these days.

You’ll be seen as caring about your donors. They, in turn, may care more about you.

(previously posted at Indianapolis Nonprofit Examiner)

Read Wilhelm’s story in Philanthropy Matters.

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