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THEVOICE • rockfordchamber.com

November 2019

IGNITE: YOUNG PROFESSIONALS

MIRANDA PUSKAR IGNITE ROCKFORD

Why young professionals must champion philanthropy

Vote with your pocketbook to support nonprofits When you choose to make a donation, think about sharing the impact your gift will have on the organization and encourage your friends to support an organization of their choice as well. It’s a funny thing, being a young professional working in fund development. The two are not usually intertwined. Millennials owing outrageous amounts for student loan debt while working entry-level jobs is just one of the many factors why the terms “young professional” and “money to give away” are understandably not often used in the same sentence. Millennials represent more than one-quarter of the U.S. population, but make up just 11 percent of total U.S. giving. (Classy, 2018) I want to encourage us to work at making that percentage rise. I never truly understood the importance of philanthropy until I started working in fund development. Nonprofits in our community truly rely on us to internalize their missions and encourage them through financial support. The work the nonprofits in our community do is outstanding and unbelievable, and it is partially up to us to make sure they can continue their work.

to become loyal with our giving. Over

Generations: How It Breaks Out

Simply sharing your philanthropic

From the beginning of my career in fund development, there was one common theme among the majority of donors that was clear -- their age. Gen X represents 20 percent of total U.S. giving, while Baby Boomers take the cake at 43 percent of total U.S. giving, and 50 percent of both those populations are enrolled in a monthly giving program. (Classy, 2018) These individuals are loyal with their giving, and understand the critical importance of philanthropy in our community. I hope young professionals will take that characteristic from their preceding colleagues, family members and friends. The great programs our community are able to take advantage of may not be there if we choose not

time, we will be able to give more to these organizations we care so much about, but no amount is too small to start now. With Giving Tuesday coming up on Dec. 3, I would encourage you to start there. Research organizations that work tirelessly for causes you care about and donate to become an advocate for those causes. You don’t have to start big. Even a $20 donation makes you a donor and will create a relationship with the organization. As

millennials

professionals, connected

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young

constantly

friends

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electronic communication, so peerto-peer fundraising is effective and can make a ripple effect. When you choose to make a donation, think about sharing the impact your gift will have on the organization and encourage your friends to support an organization of their choice as well. efforts can have such an influence. The

amount

of

support

the

nonprofits in our community need might seem daunting -- but if we work together faithfully for the greater good of our community, where we choose to live, work, and play, we will see our community continue to flourish. The future of philanthropy is counting on us. Miranda Puskar is assistant director of development at University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford and a member of IGNITE. The views expressed are those of Puskar’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

*Statistics from Classy.org, a fundraising software and support for nonprofit organizations.

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November Voice 2019