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    June 20, 2008

    Fundraising Tycoons in the Making: Trickle Up Fundraising

    Last week I saw a story in the San Fransisco Chronicle about Jewish teenagers in the Bay Area who had raised more than $200,000 that were then distributed as grants to all kinds of great causes and projects like water pumps in Africa. The teens were part of a program by the Jewish Community Endowment Fund.

    As very young Gen Yers (yes, yes, they might already be part of whatever the next generation after Y is), the teenagers displayed a key characteristic of Gen Y-being really hands on with everything we do.

    "'These teens are learning how to run their own nonprofit foundations, and they are learning how to evaluate request for proposals, and how to raise large amounts of money by hosting fundraisers and going to their parents and their parents' friends to harness the power of their personal connections.'"

    And boy are they creative. One teen charged a hefty $75 admission for a musical evening he hosted (and played at). They were the ultimate sneezers asking everyone they knew for financial support. They had board meetings, learned from experts, and got into the "nitty gritty" of fundraising, including helping decide who would receive all the money raised.

    That's the secret power of Gen Yers-we may not have a lot of funds ourselves, but we are great at getting funds out of others. As the article notes, these teenagers asked for money from their doctors, their families, anyone who had been invited to their bar/bat mitzvahs. Just as we are influenced by our elders, so we influence them. When we get excited about something, and tell everyone we know about it. That includes seniors, boomers, Xers. It's trickle up fundraising.


    John Lepp said...

    I've seen and read about more innovative ways of fundraising from Gen Y'ers than almost anyone else... Rules? What rules? "Trickle up fundraising..." I love that... Thanks Miriam.

    David Stoker said...

    These kids should consider applying for Ashoka's Youth Venture program ( or applying for Changemakers competitions ( Some of their stories might also fit among those highlighted on (another Ashoka program)which could lead to greater exposure. That's my response from an Ashoka worldview :)