publication date: Jan 19, 2012
author/source: Janet Gadeski
Have your charity's legacies and legacy commitments increased due to the Great Wealth Transfer? Take our poll in the right panel.
What will Boomers do with all that money? Marketers, trend
analysts and charity leaders have wrestled with that question ever since the "Great
Wealth Transfer" idea flagged the imminent, untold inherited wealth about to
cascade into Boomer pockets.
Many charities bought into the predictions. But data noted
in the latest issue of Perspectives on
paints the Great Wealth Transfer as an underachiever so far.
In the US, for example, annual charitable bequests must soar to six times the
average current figure for the charitable windfall to meet its original forecast.
Assuming that Boomers really are going to retire and inherit
at least some of that predicted windfall, what will it take to make them share their
time, skills and money? Offord's landmark analysis focuses on that question.
The Boomer transitional
business strategy researcher Douglas
suggests that, based on observed behavioural trends, the Canadian
Boomer cohort offers "some 50,000 new faces who could remake the sector." To do
that, though, they'll have to learn how to operate in the "relatively
resource-strained nonprofit or charity environment."
If charities want to attract these mid-career leaders, Reid
says they need to figure out two things: how mid-career adults learn, un-learn
and adapt to new realities, and how to deliver the transitional learning that
will make these new recruits successful.
Plugged in and
Offord staff Robin
and Alison Holt
the myth of Boomers as techno-Luddites "helplessly toppling off ladders during
satellite installation." Instead, they portray a techno-competent multi-tasker using
mobile devices more complex than the computer of 25 years ago.
Despite Boomers' wholesale (82%) adoption of the Internet and
everything it offers (even online gaming), Fowler and Holt warn that they still
expect personalized messages and respond best to stories. Savvy charities will
woo them with online reports rich with video and images.
Boomers as volunteers
CEO Robert Harris
picks up the volunteer
theme with a reminder that the nine million Boomers in Canada offer a huge
potential volunteer pool. He urges charities to organize their volunteer roles
around passion, people, pragmatism and prestige, four concepts he says are
closely linked to Boomer attitudes and values.
Hooking and holding
founding president Michael Adams
offers a perspective best described as cautiously optimistic. Unlike their
parents, Boomers aren't interested in what he calls "cold-turkey retirement."
Rather, they anticipate a mix of some paid work, some volunteering, and
education both formal and informal. That means they won't be as available as
Nor are they as motivated by religious conviction, with its
accompanying values of duty, guilt and noblesse oblige. Adams notes that Boomers
have substituted a need for meaning and a continuing sense of personal efficacy
for those traditional values. And continuing paid work will meet some of that
He expects that same value shift to guide Boomers' decisions
on gifts and legacies: whether they're important and what they expect if they
do decide to give. Relationship, rather than a faith-based drive to give back,
will guide their giving.
Those Boomers who do take charitable giving seriously expect
a high degree of involvement - a requirement they often achieve through private
foundations or donor-designated funds, notes Offord operations manager Prabha Mattapally
Download the full report at www.theoffordgroup.com.