Fundraising Ideas – Generational Differences

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Generational Differences In Fundraising
Part Two – Priorities, Preferences and Attitudes

In the first part of this 2-part blog, we looked at fundraising ideas and the percentage of charitable giving that came from each generation in the US, as well as the distribution of net worth across the generations.

While it’s evident that the older generations (Boomers and Matures), currently control the largest proportion of net worth (approx. 75%) and contribute the lion’s share of all gifts (69%), we can foresee a time in the near future when the bulk of that wealth will be transferred to the younger generations (Generations X & Y), who tend to give to fewer charities. It’s therefore critical to bring these donors into your fold now and steward them over the long term.

The strategies employed to engage their parents are not necessarily the ones that will resonate with these younger donors. Their approach, their beliefs and their priorities are, in many ways, distinctly different, so the conversation with them must be different.

A study published by nonprofit software provider Blackbaud about the charitable habits and fundraising ideas of each generation revealed some very telling distinctions about younger donors that should influence how you communicate with them.

Transparency And Impact

A significantly higher percentage of Generation X & Y donors say that the ability to see exactly how their donation is being used and the impact it has, was an important factor in their decision to give, compared to older donors. That means that even greater attention must be paid to being transparent with these donors who are more likely to as pointed questions about their ROI and administration costs.

Preferred Transaction Methods

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that a greater number of younger donors report making donations online, given their greater affinity and trusted use of technology to complete financial transactions. Their responsiveness to telemarketing, however, is sharply lower than their older counterparts. 19% of Matures reported making a gift as the result of a telephone solicitation, compared to only 6% and 7% of Generation Y and Generation X, respectively. In fact, telemarketing was identified by all age groups as one of the least acceptable forms of solicitation alongside street and door-to-door canvassing. While this may be true, charities must reconcile the revenues achieved through these methods with the possible unseen and unmeasured reputational damage it may be causing with other potential donors.

The Rise Of Crowdfunding

17% of Generation Y donors have reported supporting a crowdfunding campaign through channels like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Furthermore, 47% indicated that they would consider doing so in the future. Support for campaigns such as these declines with the donors’ age. Knowing what we do about Gen Y, it’s easy to see why crowdfunding carries so much appeal: it’s social, it’s a cool use of new technology and it provides a clear and immediate link between their gift and an outcome.

Just How Important Is Social Media?

As method of stewardship and staying connected with donors, social media shows a very significant intergenerational disparity of interest. 29% of Generation Y and 20% of Generation X donors indicated that social media sites are extremely or very important ways for charities to stay in touch with them. Comparatively, only 5% of Boomers and 2% of Matures agreed with that statement.

It is important to note, however, that while younger generations value the connection to the cause via social media, they tend to frown upon gift solicitations through such channels. As such, charities should continue to look upon social media as an investment in stewardship and in the future of their organizations.

Fundraising Ideas – Generational Differences
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