Theo Schuyt has coined the term "Geronto Philanthropy" to describe the giving of older people and I think it is spot on because, as we all know(?) propensity and capacity to give increases with age. He and Rene Bekkers suggest that academics and fundraisers need to think more carefully about the views and news concerning those approaching their prime. As my friend Peter Maguire, another ageing rock god says, "we're not old, just hugely experienced". Theo was talking at the European Research Network on Philanthropy(ERNOP) conference in Paris this week. Schuyt and Bekkers presented some pretty compelling evidence which fundraisers need to consider carefully. It is something, as a self-obsessed (and confessed) baby boomer I've been banging on about for some time.
There were some other very interesting and important papers at the ERNOP conference. The Institute of Fundraising Convention wasn't bad either but fundraisers interested in what is happening in philanthropy really ought to consider this conference in their research budget. For example, that truism about giving increasing with age up to about 70 needs to be revised to 80 when considering legacy gifts. And if you're not investing more in legacy development, why the hell not?
Seriously, with the fall out from the Olive Cooke furore and the Dail Mail exposee (and even the Guardian is having a pop)we need to get our approaches sorted out right now. The Government is already announcing more legislation and Stuart Etherington is going to chair another enquiry so we have to go way beyond those pontifications and practice what older givers want us to. That's still changing the world and still asking for the money to do it but without the hassle.