Boomers – Time to Rethink Our View of Non-Profits and Share our Brain Power

IMG_0051I have not done this yet at Boomer for Life, so I will warn you this post is a bit of an editorial rant.

During the past week I listened to a Ted talk and read two blog posts on the same subject. Dan Pallota’s most recent Ted talk was about how we are thinking dead wrong about non-profits ( Dan is the Aids Ride Founder, Author of Charity  Case and an Activist).

Here’s two quotes from that talk to whet your appetite and get you thinking about putting your own Boomer activist hat back on:

“ The next time you’re looking at a charity, don’t ask about the rate of their overhead. Ask about the scale of their dreams.” and

“Our generation does not want its epitaph to read, ‘we kept charity overhead low.’ We want it to read that we changed the world.”

  You can listen to his talk at:

You may also want to read a blog post written by Kate Turgovnick summarizing Dan’s advice about picking a charity of your own. Here’s that link.

One very sobering fact from Dan Pallota’s Ted Talk:

  • Poverty has been stuck at 12% of the U.S. population for 40 years.

However, here’s some promising statistics about Boomers and the scale we represent to change that:

  • Boomers are now pouring into the traditional age 65+ ‘sweet spot’ of giving (about 10,000 will cross that threshold every day for the next 17 years), but giving as a percentage of GDP remains static at 2% (

Kn Moy of Masterworks – an advertising agency that targets non-profits, cited the following facts in his comments to an article entitled “Boomers: Boom or Bust?” which was published at

    • Boomers control most of the wealth in this nation and just over half of the disposable income.
    • Despite all the very real fiscal uncertainties that Boomers face today, Boomer consumers still spend more than any other demographic — on nonessential consumer products, on travel, on dining out, on “experiences,” etc. They spend more on just about everything
    • Boomers give a third more than the Matures, a collective designation for all demographic segments older than the Boomers.
    • 24 million Boomers gave time to charity in 2010. This is the highest volunteer rate of any U.S. generation, past or present. When surveyed nearly half of all Boomers say they will volunteer at some point.

Talk Takeaway: Non-Profits cannot change the world or our neighborhoods for that matter if we Boomers do not support them more than those who have come before us and those who are behind us as well. 

It is time for all Boomers to put their 1960’s activist hats back on.

 Boomer For Life Challenge Thoughts:

1.  Boomers not only have an opportunity and obligation to give their favorite                 Non-Profits a ‘hand’ but should also lend them their minds to help them achieve their dreams. Make that happen in this decade. Get on non-profit boards. Or take on the CEO role of a non-profit – we know you will not be doing it for the money.

 2.  If you don’t have a favorite charity or any charity you call yours – go get one.

 3. Think local, think small when identifying your Favorite Charity -they probably need your help the most and it is clearly where you can make a real difference.

One thought on “Boomers – Time to Rethink Our View of Non-Profits and Share our Brain Power

  1. Pat,

    It really didn’t sound much of a rant to me; it was more of an urging folks to get off their behinds and do some good charitable work. I felt that you were asking them to actually do something for charity as well as offering their financial support.


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