NJBIA's Public Policy Forum: The Road to Recovery REGISTER

In a crowdfunding world where GoFundMe and similar platforms appeal to millennials who prefer giving more directly to those in need, how can the leaders of institutional charities make their organizations’ broader mission resonate with younger donors?

This was a question explored at NJBIA’s recent summit for the nonprofits during a panel discussion on how to engage multiple generations in philanthropy.

“Older generations tend to have more trust in the institutions that they give to,” said Sarah Fawcett-Lee, chief philanthropy officer at Virtua Health. “They’re more likely to give a gift to us knowing that we will use their money wisely and it will go to programs where we can do the best work.

“Younger generations are a little more skeptical and don’t have as much trust in institutions,” Fawcett-Lee said. “If they are going to give … they want to be at the table almost. … Tell me what you did with it.”

Nonprofit institutions need to be good storytellers to be sure their mission engages donors across all generations, said Barrett Young, CEO of the Rescue Mission of Trenton, which provides shelter, food and other social services to those in need.

“Being good storytellers has become so multifaceted,” Young said, noting that years ago nonprofits relied on newsletters published a few times a year to keep donors engaged with the work being done. “Now, yes, you still need that newsletter, but you also need to be active on Twitter, active on Instagram, Facebook … TikTok.”

Genevieve “Ginny” Burke Hill, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey, agreed that younger generations need more frequent, almost instantaneous outreach to stay engaged with a nonprofit institution’s work.

“It’s not just the newsletter anymore,” Hill said. “There are so many ways that we could leverage telling stories and the more we do I think the better it is.”

To watch the entire panel discussion, moderated by Lovepreet Buttar, co-leader of Mercadien’s Nonprofit & Human Services Group, go here.