Friday, February 17, 2012

Boomers are the "Tie that Binds"

Nonprofit fundraising is going through a very “perilous moment.”

With a few exceptions, the leadership of virtually all charitable organizations and the leadership of their fundraising arms are firmly in the control of the Baby Boom generation.

This is both good and bad.

Bad in the sense that Boomers, age 48 to 66 didn’t grow up with the micro computing revolution the way the Gen Xers and Millennial generations did. Hence, Boomers are constantly playing catch-up with technology primarily because it is not intuitive in the way it is to younger generations.

But good in the sense that Boomers aren’t afraid of technology and more importantly, they have the wisdom and experience of years of managing people and organizations.

Only Boomers will relate to my next statement. Change, from a technological perspective, is so much faster today than when we started our careers.

Digital disruption has come to nonprofit fundraising.

Boomers in leadership have three options.

First, pretend disruption isn’t happening and continue business-as-usual until you retire.

Second, pretend like you are addressing change by “bolting on” new digital tools and technologies, but without a clear vision of how all of this is going to work out until you retire.

Or three, stop and develop a plan for transforming how your organization does fundraising.

Boomers’ value to their organizations is more important in this “perilous moment” than it has ever been. By virtue of their long history with their organization, they are uniquely qualified to lead this change.

The legacy of the Baby Boomer generation has been bringing about change in society, in technology, and in the world at large. For nonprofit Boomer leadership, this is the moment you must step up and lead change.

Boomers are the bubble generation. Sandwiched between the Depression and WWII generational cohorts of the old world and the Gen X and Millennial generational cohorts of the Internet age, Boomers are the “tie that binds,” and only they are perfectly positioned to lead the change that must come.


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