This article is an extract from Transmission Private’s monthly newsletter, The Lede, which tracks the world of reputation management for private clients. You can sign up for the newsletter on our website via the tab at the bottom of this article or by completing the form here.
Good morning. 👋 Welcome to this month’s edition of The Lede, themed on philanthropy and impact. The pandemic has forced many families to confront difficult questions about their impact — and how to communicate it. And while most of those discussions have been productive, I know from experience that many of these conversations have become heated. 🥊
Why have these discussions been difficult? Different generations see impact in vastly different ways. While it would be wrong to stereotype Baby Boomers as hard-nosed capitalists and Millennials as mushy, mission-driven evangelists, these stereotypes contain a grain of truth.
How do the generations differ? While some older family members see impact solely through the lens of traditional philanthropy, Millennials tend to see it as something that more broadly permeates every area of their life; factoring into the decisions they make about the brands they buy from, the companies they work for, and the stocks they invest in. 🌳
Do we have evidence for that? Yes. Eighty-seven percent of Millennials want to work for a company that engages in CSR, finds Fidelity. Seventy-six percent of Millennials consider impact when investing compared to just 29 percent of Boomers, finds US Trust. And 64 percent of Millennials make investment decisions based on values compared with 42 percent of Boomers, finds Allianz.
Why is this important? Because too many families — under the guidance of older generations — shy away from talking about their impact because they do not have a proactive, structured philanthropic strategy. They think of impact only in terms of charitable giving; and if they aren’t donating large sums, they think they cannot talk about impact at all. But impact is much broader than that, and the public understands this.
What other forms of impact should families talk about? There are endless forms of impact, but as a starter for ten.
- Jobs created. Families can quantify the number of jobs they have created, both directly and indirectly.
- Environmental impact. Families can outline the steps their businesses have taken to both limit environmental damage and promote sustainability.
- Employee well-being. Families can talk about the steps they have taken to ensure equal representation at all levels of their business as well as detail how they have created pathways to employment for disadvantaged people.
Takeaway... impact should not be viewed exclusively through the lens of charitable giving and philanthropy. 💰 All forms of impact should be embraced and communicated.