06/29/2015 05:48 EDT | Updated 06/29/2016 05:59 EDT

The "Next Gen" Way of Giving Back to the Community

When invited to speak to the the local 100MenYEG group in Edmonton about the growing need for positive male mentors in boys' lives, I was struck with the passion and commitment of hundreds of men who are giving back to their community in time, resources and finances. But what struck me the most was that almost all of these men were part of the "Next Gen" group of donors that we keep talking about.

As a professional fundraiser in my community, the number one challenge, and opportunity, is how to engage this new group of donors and volunteers to help support the hundreds of charitable organizations in our community. Looking at the recent statistics of 2013 Volunteering in Canada Study, there is a general decline of volunteering in all not-for-profit sectors, where most people contribute lack of time as a barrier. This is not different for next gen donors -- donors want to ensure their financial contribution makes a difference, of course, but also important is the ease of the process.

A new movement across Canada, the 100Men and 100Women, is a trend-setting way of Next Gen donors giving back to the local community and perhaps sets the way for the future of giving.

Dwight Lester, 100MenYEG Founder, cites similar groups in Calgary and Halifax as his motivator for starting this movement in Edmonton. Launched in September 2014, the 100MenYEG movement has donated over $45,000 to local charitable organizations, in a mass awareness campaign and efficient process. How did they manage to raise that amount, in what might take fundraisers and grant writers months to do? Well, it's thanks to the attraction of very little time commitment coupled with the sense of personal rewards felt by each donor.

Although the 100Men and 100Women groups across the country may seem like a "make-work" project, the draw towards the movement is that there is no struggle with resources and there are no overhead costs and the charity they choose to donate to at that time is their focus.

The process for new donors is also simple, they fill out a brief form to register online, they choose the charities they want to see present at their next meeting -- keep in mind they are pushing charities to be efficient as well -- no more than five minutes to sell your cause. All movements across the country, whether its 100Men or 100Women or 100People groups tend to collaborate and support each other by attending each other's quarterly meetings and market each other's groups to spouses of their members.

Cary Williams, co-founder of 100MenYEG states that "not only are we providing financial support, but we've become a marketing organization for these charities to men who care in our community. Having the charities present their cause increases awareness and they gain more friends of their agencies."

We know that the Next Gen Donors will be the most powerful in shaping our not for profit sector across the country -- with an increase in individual wealth and an increase in the number of social causes, a new philanthropic way of giving, like these grassroot projects, is the way of the future and should be reinforced and welcomed by charities across the country.


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