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Generations and gifts to charity: Boomers do their part

Charitable giving is an important activity for millions of Americans. And for many people, this includes not only gifts while living. It also includes setting up charitable trusts or using other ways to give money or other assets to charity after death.

Members of the Baby Boom generation, a recent survey suggests, are prepared to do their part. The survey was conducted by Blackbaud, a services and software supplier for nonprofit organizations. It found that Boomers are not only the largest generation group in the donor base for nonprofits. Boomers also donate more than other generational groups.

According to the survey, the group older than the Boomers, called the "Matures," accounts for 26 percent of charitable donations each year. Boomers, however, account for significantly more than that, at 43 percent of donations. The Gen X and Gen & groups account for 20 and 11 percent respectively.

To put it another way, Boomers make up only 34 percent of the donor base for nonprofits, but give 43 percent of the gifts. It would seem, then, that the stereotype of selfishness that has sometimes been associated with certain aspects of Baby Boom culture does not match up with the generous gifts that so many Boomers are making to charity.

It should be noted, too, that the types of organizations to which people give, and the way in which they do so, are constantly evolving. Giving online, for example, is increasing among Boomers. But it is not increasing among Matures. This is scarcely surprising, as many people in the Mature generation have resisted moving so many activities online.

Yet for many Matures and Boomers, considering the role that charitable trusts and other transfers may play in pursuing their philanthropic goals is a worthwhile estate planning exercise.

Source: Forbes, "Charitable Giving: Baby Boomers Donate More, Study Shows," Deborah L. Jacobs, August 8, 2013

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