Story Matters

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Baby boomers, or people born before 1946, are now the group that gives the largest share of donations to charities.  A recent study has shown that they, and the previous generation, represent 70 percent of total giving.

It could be that younger generations are finding it hard to get and keep good paying jobs.  Those just out of college face the toughest job market in years.  Many have moved back in with their parents just to keep afloat.  They call them the “boomerang” generation because they return home.

Though many younger people want to donate, they just don’t have enough in savings or current income to warrant it.  Many are working in internships for free or minimum wage.

Another recent trend is that younger donors, under 50, want more visibility to see where their dollars are going.  They also want to see the charity’s results.

“Nearly 60 percent of millennials, and half of Generation X donors, said that seeing results from their contributions influenced their decision to give. By contrast, only a third of the oldest generation said the same.”

If you are a non-profit, look out because younger people also do not agree that cash gifts are the best way to donate.  They would much rather volunteer their time and efforts.  Though they said that, older people were more likely to have actually volunteered – 42 percent of people in their 70s versus 33 percent of millenials.

In terms of fundraising preferences, online giving is the best way.  Direct mail only works for people in their 70s and older.  Everyone else is going digital.  If you visit a non-profit’s website, you will almost always see a tab for donations.  If not, they really need to re-amp their site.

However, what all generations are asking for is back story.  They want to feel a connection to a cause if they are going to donate.  It’s important to bring people in and talk to them about what the organization is actually doing.  Story matters.