the future of planned givers

this is repost of a blog post I wrote for work.

A few months ago, The Stelter Company’s creative teams attended a trend report—a sort of “what’s hot, what’s not” in the world of publishing—by Gary McKay, creative director at Meredith Corporation. We learned about the hottest colors (neon and tropical shades) and words that move readers to act (“easy” and “simple” top the list).

But the current trend that stuck out to me most is that philanthropy is very hip right now among young adults.

Which isn’t all that surprising, if you think about it. Young adults are really into texting donations, wearing T-shirts and rubber bracelets for a cause, and bringing reusable bags to the grocery store (ChicoBags are my favorite). And a couple whose wedding I attended this spring donated to two charities in lieu of favors.

Take the success of TOMS Shoes, for example. In 2006, Blake Mycoskie started the company at the age of 31. TOMS’ slogan is “One for One.” For each pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need. Young adults will inevitably buy and wear canvas shoes, but now they can do so and give back. In just four years the company has sold more than 1 million pairs of shoes—and given as many away. (I’m asking for TOMS for my 27th birthday this year.)

It seems that 20-somethings these days are asking, “What do I care about and what can I do about it?” We see the world’s problems and think we can be a part of the solution. Stelter’s 2008 research confirms this by uncovering that those aged 40 and younger are good candidates for planned giving marketing. But we’re not as interested in writing a check as finding creative and innovative ways to give.

So what does this mean for the future of planned giving? I think it’s all about involvement and outreach to the new generation of givers—who will undoubtedly give differently than their parents. We’re receptive and eager to make a difference.

I’ve learned a lot about planned giving since I joined The Stelter Company in 2006. I understand the importance of giving back and volunteering, and do so whenever I can. While I’m not able to be a major annual donor at this stage in my life, I know I can make the biggest impact with a planned gift. So, through a beneficiary designation I have put a plan in place to benefit my favorite charity upon my death.

How can you reach out to young adults and invite them to be a part of your mission?

kelsey williamsstelterComment