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6 Trends in the Generosity Movement

The Generosity Movement is real, and it’s changing.

Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen an incredible rise in the stock market. But we’ve also seen wealth transfer occur from War Generations to the Boomers. Additionally, we’ve also seen family owned businesses mature and sell as people as families exit those businesses.

Each of those things have lead to an “excess” for some people. They have been able to say that they have more than enough for their needs and for their children. Correspondingly, the question has become what to do with that excess.

People like Oprah, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and now Mark Zuckerburg have helped popularize the notion that giving is not only chic but its transformative in culture. At a more common everyday level, we’ve now seen academic studies by places like Harvard University that tell us that giving is actually good for us—physically, mentally, spiritually.

But as we continue to look forward into the coming years, I see the generosity movement changing in the following ways:

  1. Whole-life generosity—generosity is not about just giving money. It’s a way of life. It’s about being generous with our conduct, our words, our treatment of other people, our time, and our money.
  2. Giving beyond money—increasingly people are thinking and acting upon giving things beyond cash. As the Boomer generation ages and downsizes, they are giving away their things. Their kids don’t want their stuff, so the Boomers are looking for meaningful places for their stuff.
  3. Generosity as science—as people search for meaning and purpose in their life, questions about what constitutes true happiness will continue to persist. More will follow the lead of places like Harvard demonstrate the link between generosity and happiness. It’s not stuff that brings happiness but generosity.
  4. Millenial meaning—as Millenials age, there’s an increasing emphasis upon finding meaning in careers and lifestyles. In the same way that Boomers accumulated stuff, Millenials have simplified their lives but even the simply lifestyle does not have meaning unless it includes giving and supporting others.
  5. Where are the Xers?—Often Gen X is overlooked, but as Boomers retire, the Xer generation will be called upon to lead, give and innovate. A much smaller generation than the Boomers or Millenials, Xers will begin to speak.
  6. Giving as Change Agent—Much like we’ve seen with the Gates Foundation, we’ll continue to see people use their charitable giving dollars as a way to experiment with potential solutions for problems in our world. Generosity is the new innovation agent.

What changes do you see coming our way?

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the National Christian Foundation Heartland. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously: www.givingitallawaybook.com. » Learn More

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