In the webinar Successful Generational Transitions, staff members from the Seattle Foundation and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta shared techniques for smoother transitions. Key to all of this work is understanding the skills staff need to manage transitions effectively, recognizing the family dynamics involved in succession, and identifying processes that help families think about the future and plan for changes.
The speakers provided fantastic guidance for other advisors and staff working to engage different generations effectively. Here are four takeaways from the webinar that will guide advisors through truly successful generational transitions.
Lauren Domino, Director of Donor Stewardship & Engagement at Seattle Foundation, opened the call by sharing two major themes they’ve identified when working with families: time and trust. It takes time to grow authentic, trusting relationships with families—and for advisors to recognize that they are outsiders to the family. “We’re not going to accomplish much unless they trust us, and sometimes it takes time to build that trust so that there’s buy-in for doing this work,” Lauren says.
Not only do advisors need to build relationships and trust over time, much of the work can be naturally slow-moving. Stephen Robinson, Philanthropic Advisor at the Seattle Foundation, shared that “we have to slow down in order to go far.”
Families need different types of support over time, and being able to adapt to these changes will help families transition more smoothly. Kathleen Wagner, Senior Philanthropic Officer at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, discussed a family looking to shift grantmaking over to the next generation without future grantmaking priorities defined.
Including succession planning earlier in donor conversations is another part of building a smoother transition. For many of the bequests now coming to fruition for the Seattle Foundation, there is little documentation to guide the transitions, which can make the process challenging.
Read the full article about successful generational transitions by Jen Crino at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.