A few years ago, before I started Bryn Mars Consulting in earnest, I had the pleasure of attending a retreat hosted by 21/64. You can read a little about it in my post here about values. There were a variety of reasons I found 21/64 to be the right fit for me, from the perspective of a Next Gen, but one of the main ones was connecting with other like-minded peers. Peers from affluent families, who would inherit a fiscal legacy at some point in their future. I use the word fiscal here to point out that we all inherit a history, whether we come from a family of means, or not. Money does not dictate our ability to have impact, though it certainly can help.
21/64 was not the first time I have had the opportunity to engage with my peers. It was, however, the first time I had the opportunity to dive in and learn about their hopes and dreams for the future. The future of their family, the future of their life, and the future of our earth and society. Though young - we were all under the age of 40, with most hovering around 30 - most, if not all of us had lofty ideas about what we hoped to see in the world, both in our lifetimes and beyond.
And that brings me to the crux. The age of inheritors is upon us. Though there are different numbers thrown around, we know that the "young Gen X'ers" and millennials will inherit over $30 TRILLION dollars in their lifetimes. Some quote that number as high as $72T. And what we Gen X and Millennials do with those dollars matters. Luckily, many of us want to use that money for good. And not in the way of our parents and grandparents. We have grand ideas about the impact we want to make, and how we're going to make it. We are Generation Impact.
The book, Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors are Revolutionizing Giving (Wiley, 2017) is co-authored by Sharna Goldseker of 21/64 and Michael Moody out of Grand Valley State University. Over the course of 15 years, they gathered data, both hard and anecdotal, that supports this theory - next gen donors are different from their predecessors. We want change, and we want it to be big, and we want it to happen fast. The generation of disruptors is onto disrupting philanthropy. Challenging the status quo of donating time, by volunteering earlier in life and more often; talent, by demanding that our skills are utilized by the organizations we support; treasure, by being more strategic than ever about where we choose to give; and ties, by connecting with each other in increasingly meaningful ways.
I invite you to read the book and hear for yourselves. As a family member, you'll find a connection point to the next-gens in your family and begin to understand how and why they may want to make changes to the family foundation, as an advisor you'll understand the driving forces of these next-gens, and learn techniques for connection, and as next-gens you'll hear from peers, and hopefully be as inspired as me.