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5 Key Generosity Trends for 2020 and Beyond

It’s a Fact! Generosity is Always Changing: 5 Key Trends for 2020 and Beyond

By The Rev. Dr. Richard Young, TPF’s President

One thing we can count on, times are always changing—and that is especially true now with the start of a new decade and the close of another. One could say that this is a perfect time to identify the key personal generosity trends that will affect non-profit organizations, institutions, and congregations throughout the coming decade.

Five trends to watch for include:

  1. Increase in Heartfelt Giving: Younger generations will give to specific causes that touch their hearts and offer transformation. We have already begun to see that those of the younger generations do not feel the need to belong to a congregation. Throughout the next decade they will continue to find places where their hearts and minds are fed, and they will remain dedicated to their selective process of determining who and what they support with their wallets. These gifts may be smaller but are often more numerous due to the amount of causes they support. KEY TAKEAWAY: Younger generations should not be written off for their differences, but rather cultivated, recognized, and included.
  2. Transparent Spending: There will be a need for greater transparency for nonprofits and churches when it comes to use of funds. Given the lack of trust placed in large organizations, we must be open to sharing how and where money is used. The “just trust us” methodology is a dead-end. KEY TAKEAWAY: Only providing unified budgets as an option for the stewardship of gifts will not invigorate the younger or older generations.
  3. Varied Giving Methods: It’s time to offer a variety of methods of giving. Dependence on the Sunday morning offering plate is fading, and not everyone uses checks. People seek opportunities to give that are convenient and readily available. Online giving continues to grow, and more options are available now than there ever have been. KEY TAKEAWAY: Always carefully investigate these options to ensure that they are trustworthy in order to protect your organization and donors.
  4. Focus on Fixed Incomes: With over 60% of them in retirement, more of the Boomer generation will move to fixed incomes, thus restricting their ability to give. This generation tends to be the largest givers to non-profit organizations presently. KEY TAKEAWAY: Many in this generation are deeply concerned about the viability of the congregation, organization, or institution.
  5. Struggling with Sustainability: Giving to sustain an institution will become more difficult. The church or nonprofit needs to constantly be able to answer the questions: Why are we here? What purpose are we fulfilling? Why should some give to support us? Regular communication of this information will help people understand the need to sustain the institution. KEY TAKEAWAY:  We can no longer expect that people will give just to support an organization or congregation because they’ve always done so in the past. Things are changing in the future!

These are all big topics, and I would be interested in continuing the conversation with you. What are you seeing?  How are you working with these trends in your specific setting?  We are all in this together, so let’s continuing sharing! Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at rick.young@tpf.org.