I’ve been thinking about this recent post — Boomer life transitions and fundraising — by Jeff Brooks of Future Fundraising Now.

I’ve tended to be a believer in the manna from heaven promised by the fundraising ‘coming of age’ of America’s 76 million boomers.

Huge wealth transfer coming their way. More discretionary income to give away. More time to reflect (and act) upon their personal contribution to making/leaving behind a better world. Yadayada.

And Jeff’s post reflects that optimism.

But I wonder.

Boomers are now pouring into the traditional age 65+ ‘sweet spot’ of giving (about 10,000 will cross that threshold every day for the next 17 years), but giving as a percentage of GDP remains static, and the hard data says both acquisition and retention is falling. Where is the boom?

Instead, Boomers face unexpected financial uncertainty, long-living parents to care for, and struggling offspring to help along (both of the latter consuming that wealth transfer). They’re working as hard as ever, with diminishing progress to show.

They’re getting grumpy, not benevolent.

Reinforcing that, perhaps many are facing the fact that their (our) generation has pretty much mucked everything up (yes, we changed the world all right!) … and are retreating shamefully from the playing field into their (our) caves, hanging on to any leftover marbles. Defeated.

If you were targeting Boomers today (half the Boomer will be age 60+ in two years), would your message be one of hopefulness (“You can still save the world from …!”) or one of guilt (“Don’t leave your grandchildren twisting in the wind!”)?

The question is a bit facetious … but only a bit.

If these folks don’t open their wallets more and soon, a Boomer Bust is on the way.

What do you think?

Tom

P.S. The numbers above are US, but the question applies to all Anglo-Euro societies I believe.

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