Is generosity the new way forward?

Eleanor Cater
23 November 2021

Giving Tuesday, on November 30th, is an international day celebrating giving and generosity, having begun as a philanthropic response to the growing materialism of Black Friday. Its impact is growing across the planet as more organisations sign up to promote altruism in favour of consumerism at the beginning of the festive season.

Through our work we get a sense that, increasingly, people are looking for something more meaningful. I’ve been wondering lately, is generosity the new way forward, starting to balance the excess consumerism which can dominate at this time of year?

Giving is changing across the world as a younger generation starts to influence giving patterns. There is some evidence that millennials like to give regularly and more often; while the baby boomers are showing real interest in passing on their wealth more mindfully, possibly influenced by the passion of millennials (while I’m not quite a baby boomer, I sure am encouraged by the younger generation and their passion for saving the planet. I feel we kind of owe them, somewhat, for the state of the world we are leaving behind).

Today donor-advised funds – like the endowment funds invested with Community Foundations - are one of the fastest growing forms of philanthropy in the world. People are getting more strategic with their giving and are inspired by the fact they can set something up to give back, forever.

Corporate giving is also growing as customers vote with their wallets and workers vote with their feet, preferring to work for a corporate which shows a commitment to purpose as well as profit. A recent Harvard Business Review article titled ‘To retain employees, give them a sense of purpose and community’ included this quote from a HR manager:

“In our organization, we’ve emphasized both purpose and belonging because they must go hand in hand. We want people to feel like everything they do matters not just to the organization, but to each other. We want people to feel a shared sense of purpose as well as fulfillment in their own purpose. We refer to it as solidarity”.

Here at Community Foundations we have recently been buoyed by the solidarity and corporate giving of Craigs Investment Partners who, in lieu of corporate gifts, are donating over $156k to New Zealand communities this Christmas through our network. The range of causes chosen is staggering – mental health, food security and environmental causes feature highly - and selected carefully through the teams at the local Craigs offices. Ka pai, Craigs team!

Then there are those individuals who are choosing to donate to good causes rather than buy excess ‘Secret Santa’ or unnecessary gifts, avoiding adding to the consumerism of the season. Many of New Zealand’s Community Foundations issue gift certificates you can pop in an envelope and give to family, friends and colleagues – the gift that keeps on giving, to be invested in your community for the long term - a rather unique idea and certainly a talking point around the Christmas table as you describe how you’ve just received a gift which will last forever! Fulfilling for the heart and soul, we think.

Through our work we see growing signs that New Zealanders really do want to make a difference in the world. They care about the planet. There is a rumbling, a growing social responsibility; people want to leave a legacy. It’s wonderful to see and hear every day the stories of generous people connecting with heart and soul to community causes and contributing to or setting up funds which will make a difference into the future.

Aroha New Zealand, this Giving Tuesday we simply want to say, kia ora and thank you for your generosity.

Date Posted: 23 Nov 2021

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