Convio has produced this valuable white paper on generational giving patterns. It’s based on a 2010 survey of 1500 recent donors to nonprofits.

The paper is framed around four segments — Matures, Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y. It’s chock full of data on how different generations give, their giving amounts, how they interact with charities, how they get their information about causes and charities.

Overall, the data reinforces the common perception … younger donors are more "electronic" in their channel preferences and use (and interestingly, that includes receptivity to telephone solicitation).

But three observations struck me about this data …

1. The resilience of mail, even for the younger folks. As expected, amongst Matures, 77% give via check in the mail compared to 25% via websites. But even amongst Gen Y donors, 26% give via mail and 29% via website.

And whereas Matures list their sources of information about their "top charity" as mail (49%), emails/e-newsletters (24%) and websites (14%), for Gen Y the corresponding  channel preferences are mail (26%), emails/e-newsletters (29%) and websites (36%). So Matures favor hard copy, but it’s clearly part of the media mix for younger donors as well. And at the same time, Matures use online tools in increasing numbers.

2. So indeed "media mix" is what should be emphasized. Today’s donors — whatever their generation — use all channels. As Convio says in its #1 finding: "Fundraising is profoundly multichannel." And their corollary #4 finding: "Message/channel integration is a more urgent priority than ever."

My warning: if your charity or nonprofit isn’t structurally and culturally organized to ensure integrated marketing, you’re doomed!

3. Our US handicap. In view of Agitator’s recent post on monthly giving, and comments on it by some of our European readers, I was struck by the low percentage — 14% — of US donors giving via monthly debit. In Europe and Asia direct debit giving is universal … checks are as infrequent as wax-sealed letters! And the consequence of that is far greater dominance abroad of monthly giving. US fundraisers … eat your hearts out!

Important piece of research … read it!




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This article was posted in: Demographics, Direct mail, Media usage / trends, Nonprofit management, Online fundraising and marketing, Social media, Telemarketing.
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