Welcome to NextGenerosity! My name is Julie Judson, and I’ll be your cruise director. I’m excited you’re here. For several years now, I’ve been passionate about learning as much as I can and talking about how Millennials are changing the way we give. I’ve had the opportunity to explore my interests in the subject through my professional endeavors and as a volunteer for various organizations. Needless to say, I’ve learned so much (and I’m still learning all the time), I’ve had countless wonderful conversations, and I’ve developed ideas about how my generation can be effective philanthropists right now. Recently I began a fellowship to focus on some of these ideas. The program has encouraged me to iterate on those ideas as often as possible – however scary that can be – and so as a result, this blog was born.
When I sat down to write this first blog post, it occurred to me that I was getting tripped up over what to say. I kept giving myself reasons not to write it. There’s the fear of whether or not people would find what I have to say about Millennials and philanthropy interesting. And there’s the even bigger fear that maybe I won’t really be saying anything new – after all, coverage of Millennials and how we’re living our young lives differently than any generation before us is rampant. But really, the hardest part of all of this is just getting started.
Perhaps the same could be said for our generation on the topic of giving. Working as a young fundraiser with young donors, I often hear feedback from the people I talk to (who also happen to be my peers) about their thoughts on philanthropy. Sometimes they’ll tell me it’s that they don’t want to give because they don’t feel like they know enough about where their money is going. A lot of the time people tell me they “know” the amount they are able to give won’t make a “real” impact, and so that deters them from giving altogether. Much of the time, people discuss their own real and legitimate financial concerns, like student loans and rent and trying to save whenever they can for the future. I also hear things like, “Well, I care about a lot of things, and a lot of organizations serve the causes I’m passionate about, but I don’t know where to focus my support.”
I totally get all of those concerns, and I struggle with the same issues all the time. But the questions I get from family, friends, and donors I build relationships with inspire me, and indicate (at least to me) that Millennials want to learn more about how they can have an impact, and how they can put their own twist on philanthropy. I also know that you have to start somewhere, and that’s the whole idea behind this blog. I hope that this will at the very least be a conversation starter, and maybe inspire someone (or a lot of someones) to start believing that they can start giving now and still have an impact, no matter what they’re able to contribute.
So here’s the value proposition: I will write content that’s interesting and that helps make the idea of philanthropy less lofty and more democratic. Some of it will be informative, and some of it will be informed by my own opinion. Like I said before, I’m still learning, too, and so I’ll also be calling on some friends to help me out from time to time, especially when they can offer perspectives that I can’t. I hope you’ll come visit occasionally or even subscribe if the spirit moves you, share with friends when you like what you read, ask questions that hopefully we can answer, and most importantly: start giving. There’s really no time like the present.