A Tradition of Giving
Isaac H. Taylor and his bank account were devoted to Israel. His donations, funneled through the Jewish National Fund, helped pay for numerous projects there, including the planting of thousands of trees and the construction of Yad Kennedy, a memorial erected just outside of Jerusalem following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
A few years ago, when the memorial needed a face-lift, JNF knew exactly where to turn. The century-old, New York-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving and developing the land of Israel decided to contact the families of the original donors, including Isaac Taylor’s son, Dr. Irving Taylor.
“The memorial was getting shabby,” Irving Taylor says. “JNF approached me. I agreed to do it in memory of my father. I’ve followed up on many of the things he did.”
This is just one approach JNF has used to keep families connected to the organization, says Diane Scar, JNF’s mid-Atlantic zone director.
“It’s certainly something we appreciate so much,” says Scar, a fundraiser for close to 25 years, 17 of those for JNF. “Having the next generation — our goal is to maintain family continuity.”
As belts tighten and the cost of acquiring new donors increases, many nonprofits are recognizing the value of intergenerational fundraising — building on one donor’s loyalty to make new donors of the next generation of family members.
But too often, organizations get stuck in the mind-set of only focusing on older donors — the people giving now, Scar says.
“You have to engage [younger generations],” she says. “That money is going to be transferred in a few short years. In a few short years, they’ll be the ones controlling the family checkbook.”
Scar offers these tips to organizations looking to turn today’s children and grandchildren into tomorrow’s donors:
1. Engage the entire family.
Families need to be involved from the start. Donors and their families need to be invited to meetings and events, and told how much their contributions are needed and appreciated, Scar says, adding that it’s also important to build trust.