• Branch County Community Foundation

Tapping Into Donors’ Entrepreneurial Motivations to Build Your Endowment



It’s not news to those of us in the philanthropy world that donor motivations change across generations. It’s relatively easy to get up to speed on the trends, but it’s not always easy to know what to do about those trends, especially when it comes to planned giving.


One of the biggest challenges organizations face as they are building their endowments is that younger donors tend to be more entrepreneurial and hands-on, which doesn’t always align perfectly with a desire to provide unrestricted funding or endowment gifts to your organization. So what can you do? Here are three suggestions:

Learn about the mindset.

Spend a little time digging into the research and commentary–written specifically by entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurs–about charitable giving. This will help you understand the unique point of view that these donors often bring to the table when you start a conversation about major gifts and planned gifts to your organization.

Get up to speed on gifts of closely-held stock.

Many younger philanthropists have built their wealth by starting and growing companies. Giving closely-held stock to a public charity is a very tax-effective giving strategy, provided that the gift is completed well before any sale of the company is in the works. As you brush up on the rules surrounding gifts of closely-held stock, please reach out to the community foundation. We can provide insight and resources to help you navigate these types of gifts. Frequently, we can help you secure a gift of closely-held stock for your endowment or reserve fund administered at the community foundation.

Involve the next generation.

Be intentional about inviting younger donors and successful entrepreneurs to join your board of directors and committees. In this way, you’ll be able to show these emerging philanthropists, firsthand, the value of the services you provide to the community and the return on investment of philanthropic dollars over the long haul. You’ll also demonstrate a strong commitment to ethics that can weather the ups and downs of the marketplace and stay committed to the organization’s mission through governance by a self-perpetuating, independent board of directors.



This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.

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