In a broad sense, the urgency revolves around “not being left out.”  The nation is on the cusp of a tremendous intergenerational transfer of wealth — according to Morgan Stanley, up to $150 billion will change hands from one generation to the next over the next 50 years. With so much at stake, savvy associations are seeing the wisdom in positioning themselves to benefit.

That’s the long view.  In the short term, associations see their traditional revenue models undergoing change; a recent Association Forum survey confirmed that developing non-dues revenue sources are a top concern – one that philanthropy can help address.  In an era when conferences are going virtual, publications are going digital and professional development is available from more sources, associations are recognizing foundations’ potential for engaging members more deeply with their organization and with each other, and thereby helping to attract and retain members.

In an increasingly competitive talent marketplace, every association wants to ensure a flow of top talent to its profession. foundation-supported scholarships and fellowships help to achieve this by easing young professionals’ financial burden, and by appealing to Millennials’ desire to make a difference in the world.

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