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Insights into the millennial philanthropist mindset

Steve Prostano
Family Wealth Advisors

Trillions of dollars are beginning to shift within ultra high net worth families to a new generation of heirs, according to a recent Accenture study. As this transfer of wealth takes place, what giving trends from millennial philanthropists can we expect to see in the years to come?

Young Asian woman looking into the distance near a coastline with a hazy urban skyline behind her.To help answer that question, our parent company BNP Paribas teamed up with The Economist Intelligence Unit to publish the 2017 BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Report. The report is based on interviews conducted from November 2016 to January 2017 with ultra high net worth millennials and relevant experts in the field of philanthropy.

The report offers a fascinating glimpse into the mindset of millennial philanthropists. Some of their guiding principles include:

  • Social entrepreneurship: Millennial donors aim to use sustainable strategies to achieve philanthropic goals. The options for investments may vary, with many donors choosing to give to for-profit organizations.
  • Global approach: With greater ease of travel and more technology at their fingertips, millennials are taking an interest in causes far from home. In the past, philanthropists were more likely to support their local communities.
  • Sense of urgency: Millennial philanthropists are driven to enact change today, not in the distant future. In turn, they have dedicated their careers to philanthropy starting at an early age.
  • Social media savvy: By leveraging a variety of social media channels and tools, millennials are able to promote their initiatives and increase awareness of certain causes.
  • Collaborative networking: Using both local and international networks, these donors are sharing best practices with peers and identifying co-funding opportunities around the world.

I also found it particularly interesting to read about the emerging sectors that millennial philanthropists support. From fintech and edtech – which use technology to provide financial and educational services to underserved communities – to affordable food and clean energy for off-grid communities, this group is harnessing an entrepreneurial spirit to tackle the world’s most pressing issues.

So what’s the common thread that links all of these findings? I think much of it connects well with the concept of “purpose-built philanthropy” that is key to our work in Family Wealth Advisors. Rather than simply writing a check to various charities, this generation aims to take an active approach that leverages their skills and networks to make a long-lasting impact. I’m excited to see how they change our world.

Learn more about Bank of the West’s Wealth Management services. Download the full 2017 BNP Paribas Individual Philanthropy Report or check out the summary.

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Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell a specific investment.

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