18 Dec

Giving Across Generations: Who’s Giving More? Who’s Giving Less? And Who Cares?

Blog No Comments by Travis Jones

Giving Across Generations: Who’s Giving More? Who’s Giving Less? And Who Cares?Most pleas for charity center around phrases like, “It’s better to give than to receive”, but general appeals like these can assume that all givers are created equal. The various generations, for example, have very distinctive traits in the ways that they give and the reasons they do so. A summary of some recent research findings on the generations and their giving can be found here.

A main question guiding the research is, “between the older and younger generations, who gives more?” And the answer is, both. Older generations, like the Boomers, generally give more money than their younger counterparts. They generally give to more established organizations and give more than twice the amounts of Gen Y and Gen X combined. So why say they both give more?

Well, in another recent study, Gen Y and Gen Xers said they “planned to increase charitable giving the next 12 months”, a combined 40% compared to only 10% of Boomers who planned to do so. In fact, charitable giving and an interest in philanthropy is one of the defining characteristics of the Millennial generation. So what is the generational divide?

Younger generations are more likely to look for companies who brand themselves as charitable, make purchases based on environmental impact, and utilize social media and crowd-funding in their charity efforts than older generations. However, older generations are more likely to give more money, use traditional giving methods, and have a longer sustained relationship with their charities.

So what does this mean for organizations? It means that companies must embrace the generational giving differences in order to create more effective charitable programs and efforts. If your workforce has generational diversity, you may consider offering various options for charitable giving and volunteering that more accurately speaks to your employee base:

  • Is it possible to have a mixed methods approach where the charitable desires of both younger and older generations are utilized?
  • Are marketing appeals for branding around charity taking into consideration the ways that both generations give, albeit in different ways?

These differences should be seen as challenges to be embraced. The news to be celebrated from this is that older and younger generations both give more, but in their respectively unique ways.

What kind of giver are you? In what ways does your organization allow for charitable giving? Tell us in the comments!

11 Dec

Tis the Season to Be Jolly…But How?

Blog No Comments by Travis Jones

Tis the Season to Be Jolly…But How?Whether you are celebrating Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas or another cultural tradition, the holiday season is now fully upon us. At work it’s no exception. Holiday parties, secret Santa gift giving and office potlucks are probably in fully swing at your office. And deep beneath all of the decorations, parties, advertisements, and shopping are cultural traditions reminding us to also celebrate common human virtues.

The tradition of gift giving was originally meant to inspire and illustrate the human virtues of generosity and charity (ignore Black Friday pepper sprayings for the sake of this post). Despite all of the anxiety, financial stress, jealousy, and guilt that holiday gift giving can sometimes bring, there is still a remnant in the tradition that is a healthy reminder for us all; it is still better to give than receive.

Some of us are better gift givers than others. I’ll be the first to admit this is not my strong suit. If I pull your name at a secret Santa party, there’s no secret; you’re getting a gift card. But even a self-acclaimed Grinch like myself knows that the feeling of giving someone a gift that they’ll enjoy is valuable beyond money. But this sense of fulfillment that comes with being generous is not always natural. If it were, we wouldn’t need constant reminders, in the form of traditions or parental prompts to children to “share.” This is why holidays can be powerful signposts to the values that we all agree are worthy of moments of collective celebration.

There is research that proves empirically the benefits of giving. People around the world, with both modest and comfortable incomes, reported being happier when they spent money on others than on themselves. Most of the research can be summed up as a rebuttal to the cultural saying, “money can’t buy happiness.” According to many researchers, yes it can. If you haven’t already listened to the Ted talk, “Money Can Buy Happiness”, I encourage you to take ten minutes and fifty-eight seconds sometime and do so. In it, business psychologist Michael Norton gives a great summary of the research that illustrates through various experiments that people who give to others are happier. There are also several other surprising findings in the experiments like, it didn’t matter how much money participants spent, but that they spent is what caused their happiness.

The research is also compelling because of how wide and diverse their participant sample was, spanning countries as diverse as Canada, India, and South Africa. Given the uniformity of their findings across diverse cultural contexts, the researchers believe they have evidence of a deeply human trait of reciprocity.

In addition to measuring individual happiness, the researchers also ran several experiments on teams in organizational settings. In one experiment, two teams of pharmaceutical sales reps were given money to spend on themselves, or money to spend on their other team members respectively. The results showed that the giving team not only reported higher rates of happiness, but also out sold their non-giving colleagues by very large margins. So, as Norton argues, the amount of money the giving team made in extra sales was greater than the amount of money the researchers gave them initially, thus providing the business case for why giving is profitable.

Below are five core principles on spending money proposed by psychologists Michael Norton (mentioned above) and Elizabeth Dunn:

  • Buy experiences – like trips, concerts and special meals that inoculate against buyer’s remorse.
  • Make it a treat – making daily habits into special indulgences increases satisfaction.
  • Buy time – before making a purchase, ask yourself, “How will this change how I use my time?”
  • Pay now, consume later – paying up-front and delaying consumption maximizes the pleasure of anticipation and reduces debt.
  • Invest in others – spending money on others provides a bigger happiness boost than spending on oneself.

So if you are like me and enjoy reminders, especially evidence based ones, remember this holiday season that money actually can buy happiness; it all depends on how you spend it.

05 Nov

POLL: Do You Have A Mentor At Work?

Blog, Polls No Comments by Let's Talk Work

POLL: Do You Have A Mentor At Work?

A mentor at work can be helpful for your career and professional development. Do you have a mentor at work? In the comments below the poll tell why or why not you think mentoring is beneficial.

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