Giving and Leading: Baby-Boomer Giving

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A new report shows that Baby-boomers are expected to give $8 trillion dollars in their time and money over the next 20 years. Jacky Alling, chief philanthropic services officer for the Arizona Community Foundation, and Patricia Lewis, Professional-in-Residence at the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, will talk about giving trends expected for Baby-boomers.

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TED SIMONS: Tonight's edition of Arizona giving and leading looks at a new report that shows how baby Boomers are expected to donate a massive amount of time and money to charities over the next 20 years. Jacky Alling is the chief philanthropic services officer for the Arizona community foundation, and Patricia Lewis is professional-in-residence at ASU's Lodestar center for philanthropy and nonprofit innovation. Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us.

JACKY ALLING: Thank you.

PATRICIA LEWIS: Thank you.

TED SIMONS: Impact of baby Boomers on philanthropy. We have touched on this in the past. But huge.

JACKY ALLING: Yes, huge.

TED SIMONS: How huge?

JACKY ALLING: Well, it is a massive demographic shift across America. This is a big group from -- born from 1945 to '64. People like to call it the pig and the python, if you will, quite the image.

TED SIMONS: Yes.

JACKY ALLING: But not just in terms of the massive size, but the way they're recasting aging in our communities and this is a group that wants to be civically engaged. Tag line in the '60s, they wanted to change the world. Now they're in the '60s and they want to do it again.

TED SIMONS: Interesting. The trends among baby Boomers now, how do they want to change the world?

PATRICIA LEWIS: Well, first of all, we have to recognize that this is not their parents' charitable activity nor is it their children's charitable activity. They do want to be very engaged but primarily they want to make a difference with their giving and with their volunteering. And they want their volunteering to be very significant. It is not the old, you know, licking envelopes. It is being engaged in executive decisions, in strategic planning, in the kind of real powerful kinds of activities that charities are engaged in. And also with their giving. They want to make their giving powerful. It has to have an impact. And it has to make -- they have to be shown that somebody's life is being changed.

TED SIMONS: It sounds like want to get back from the giving.

JACKY ALLING: Exactly. Well, you do well by doing good. And that's all a part of this 55 plus profile. We also see them as really savvy investors much to what pat was saying. They want to see a social return on their investment. So they treat this in a very business-like fashion.

TED SIMONS: Are you seeing religious groups, human rights groups. Education, animal -- environment. These are traditional areas of donation and volunteer activity. Still seeing that with baby Boomers or a little different?

JACKY ALLING: A little bit different. I think we're starting to see there is all kinds of different ways one can define religious affiliations. And I think Pat can speak a little bit more to the millennials and how that is really changing in their giving and voluntary habits. A lot of interest in the environment across the board. These are active people. Arizonans really care about their environment more than anything. We see a lot given to education. We spent a lot of time talking about education in the state of Arizona here, Ted. People are getting that message and want to see it change.

TED SIMONS: As far as attracting baby Boomers -- a lot of folks out there, ready, willing, able. How do you attract them?

PATRICIA LEWIS: You have to make their experience meaningful. You have to show them that what they are going to support, whether with their time or with their money, is going to make that difference. And you have to reach out and tell your story. And telling your story means not just saying we're doing good. It means telling your story to say what difference you are making in someone's life or in the community, and focusing on what -- as you point out, what will interest them and what interests the baby Boomers are more the traditional things, you know, the arts and education. When you move down below the baby Boomers into the Xers and Yers, they're more interested in the environment and animals they're less interested in tradition.

TED SIMONS: Institutional stuff seems to be, younger the demographic. The donations sound great, time, and it also sounds like it could get folks out there that are head strong.

JACKY ALLING: There's price for the engagement. Pat and I were talking about that. We work all of the time with families that set up charitable funds, and we have seen the generational differences and so we really feel a responsibility to work with our nonprofit sector and get them ready to really take advantage of these resources and to engage them in meaningful ways so that ultimately they will contribute and support their cause but they need -- training is key.

TED SIMONS: They need to be open to demands.

JACKY ALLING: Exactly.

PATRICIA LEWIS: That's right.

TED SIMONS: Did I read that retired women give more than retired men? What is that all about?

PATRICIA LEWIS: That is correct. Women give more than men period. And, so, that's a whole other topic.

TED SIMONS: But, you know, it does play -- I assume the baby Boomer generation follows that trend?

PATRICIA LEWIS: Yes, it does. It does. Women who are retired, they volunteer more and they give more. You do understand there is a relationship between volunteering and giving. Where they volunteer is where they're going to give and that is what is providing some of the leadership for this giving. But there is a whole lot of -- a big issue on the transfer of wealth that people are assuming there is going to be a big bulge of giving. Well, that is going to depend on the economy and it is going to depend on public policy and it is going to depend on how well charities exhibit transparency and accountability for how they spend the money.

TED SIMONS: Last question. Biggest challenge, if I'm a nonprofit, what is my biggest challenge in attracting this huge demo?

JACKY ALLING: Right. Being open to the talents that they bring. Being open-minded to accepting their gifts. Not just financial, but social venture partners model where numbers of executives come in and actually, almost like a swat team come in and provide all kinds of professional services. Having that accessibility and being nimble.

TED SIMONS: All right. Great information. Good to have you both here.

PATRICIA LEWIS: Thank you.

TED SIMONS: Thank you for joining us.

JACKY ALLING: Thank you.

TED SIMONS: And that is for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

VIDEO: "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you. Virginia B. Piper charitable trust, more information at pipertrust.org.

Jacky Alling :Chief philanthropic services officer for the Arizona Community Foundation, Patricia Lewis:Professional-in-Residence at the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation

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