Support makes anything easier, but finding trustworthy support or advice for financial issues can be difficult for us younger folks. This is equally true with philanthropy. Given the fact there are so many different kinds of groups and causes that one can support, the process of deciding what to do with your giving becomes challenging.
Consequently, getting support is truly integral to growth. So, where can you turn?
Understanding the Different Pieces
You need to go become familiar with the kinds of people and places that understand the principles you espouse. You also need to seek out philanthropic and financial-planning experts. Here’s the kind of support young givers need:
A financial advisor who can help them make smart financial choices consistent with your situation. This can put young givers in a position to make as large a philanthropic impact as possible.
A philanthropic advisor to help navigate important issues, laws, policies, and trends in the charitable world. Plus, as experts in charitable giving, they should be able to help you think through your personal-giving goals. Moreover, they should work with you to devise a strategy that will best help you achieve your goals. There are groups and resources out there–such as American Philanthropic, Philanthropy Daily, Philanthropy Roundtable and, of course, the Novus Society here at DonorsTrust–that share advice and news in charitable giving. Looking to these sources (with the exception of Novus) won’t give you personalized advice to your specific situation, but it can help round out your knowledge base.
A cause advisor or place where you can garner real information on the different groups working in the liberty space. This adds the element of understanding for your principles and those doing the charitable work to uphold those principles. This may be hard to find in your financial or philanthropic advisor. Lots of different groups exist that keep their pulse on the liberty movement. State Policy Network can provide a good base for what’s going on in the states. The Atlas Network does the same but emphasis the international freedom movement. FYI, not all think tanks are affiliated with either network.
Sometimes you can find one partner to fulfill a number of these functions. For example, a conservative financial advisor may also be able to inform you of what pertinent laws being enacted or considered that affect charitable giving. A charitable-vehicle provider like a donor-advised fund or community foundation may also be able to provide background information on the types of issues you care about if you choose one that already aligns with your principles.
Now that you’ve gone to these events and have been meeting people, try guiding your conversations with other attendees toward giving. It’s a great place to gauge others’ giving strategy and get a sort of broad swath of responses and perspective but, on the flip side, you can then look for someone whose response highlights their intentionality and strategy.
If their perspective or goals for their giving lines up with yours, you may reach out to them for coffee to pick their brain as an informal mentor. Most folks I know would relish the opportunity to share their experiences and wisdom with us younger givers. It’s even helpful speaking to someone of your own age. Perhaps they have tried or struggled in their giving in different ways than you have. So, meeting to discuss, commiserate, and connect on that deeper level is equally valuable!
Novus Society at DonorsTrust, our program for under 40 givers, does this in a few different ways. We’ve hosted a special Holiday Giving Match to encourage our members to share their favorite causes with each other – with a bonus game that ended in one of those fortunate nonprofits receiving a grant from Novus Society. It’s a great holiday bonus for a worthy cause and builds camaraderie among our members. New this year, we launched a 3% giving challenge to help members build up their account with us to the required grant-making level.
For formal mentorship, we have hosted established givers, DonorsTrust clients, to speak at private salon dinners, happy hours, and virtual calls. The small-style events allow for Novus members to really pick the brains of our seasoned philanthropists. It also lets young givers bounce ideas off of more established givers. What’s more, our seasoned philanthropists love these events, as they get a chance to steward the next generation and be part of that torch-passing.
We also include all Novus members in DonorsTrust client-only events. These events are aimed at being more social and engaging. Nonetheless, they are one more opportunity for young givers to connect and discuss giving. It’s also a chance to talk about the liberty movement with donors who have been in their shoes.
Getting plugged into liberty and supporting the valiant efforts of so many amazing nonprofits seems like a daunting task. With the right support, however, it’s an exciting and enjoyable beginning for sure.