Yesterday Roger wrote, in effect, ‘Get real fundraisers, to raise money, focus on Boomers and older.” Indeed, I once heard Roger comment that funeral directors don’t try to sell burial plots to teenagers … they patiently await their market!

But then today, the Chronicle of Philanthropy urges: “People in their 20s and 30s already donate a third of the money raised by charities, and nonprofits that engage them now will reap the rewards later.”

What’s a poor fundraiser to do?

Methinks it’s a matter of balance.

Sure, there might be a cause or charity out there that by its core mission might be targeted specifically at young donors … and use tactics and channels favored by that audience. But c’mon, that has to be the exception to the norm. Name one.

For virtually all mainstream charities and causes, the giving audience is going to be overwhelmingly Boomers and older — a function of life stage (which includes increasing other-directedness) and, for many, disposable income.

But I suspect that few fundraisers actually target older donors (other than perhaps some seat-of-the-pants choices made about prospecting lists). More likely, you throw out a large net based upon presumed affinity (however that judgment has been made), get your response, and then later ‘discover’ that — lo and behold — your donors are actually older versus younger.

And you probably only know that in the aggregate sense because maybe you did a donor survey that reported 75% of your donors said they were over 50.

What you probably do not know is the age of your individual donors. Which of course is what you would need to know to do any serious follow-up customization and cultivation.

I was fascinated by the superb infographic in the Blackbaud study Roger reviewed  yesterday. It alone was ‘worth the price of admission’!

At the very end, it offers an idea:

Build relationships and increase the lifetime value of your donor base



P.S. As for the right balance in chasing older versus younger donors. My own approach would be to: 1) be mindful of taking steps — communications-wise — to keep my brand current and relevant; 2) experiment with modest investments in channels and tactics aimed at engaging younger donors (all about testing and learning); but 3) focus my actual fundraising money and energy very heavily on fishing where the fish are … in the older demographic.

Whaddya say, am I too old-fashioned?

This article was posted in: Communications, Demographics, Donor acquisition, Nonprofit branding.
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