Meet Jim Hannah, age 72, and Don Deitch, age 75. Both spend a lot of time online doing sophisticated stuff. According to Larry Dobrow writing in The Magazine of Online Media, Marketing & Advertising (OMMA), these guys shatter the stereotype of “seniors” being web adverse. Yet online marketers are still writing off the oldsters.

Dobrow's article is worth reading if you're inclined to dismiss your pre-Boomer constituency (you know, the ones who donate all that money) when it comes to online engagement.

Our takeaway from the piece is that you might need to be satisfied with using the online medium with this older segment for communications, service and education, as opposed to fundraising. The reason: only 14% of 65-plus men feel “somewhat” or “very” comfortable using a credit card to shop on the internet (no figures given for women), compared with 35% of the US population as a whole. This reluctance to charge online is very likely to curb online donating.

But as the article points out, following behind this oldest segment are nearly 36 million Web users between ages 50 and 64 years, who are even more comfortable with the online medium.

Our advice: don't let the youngsters plotting your nonprofit's online presence get away with design features, gimmicks and tactics that only appeal to fellow youngsters! The online audience is far more multi-generational these days.

Roger & Tom

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