Engaging Gen X and Y, Fundraising Across Generations, Generational Philanthropy

Book Post #15: Why are young donors important to your organization?

In all my blog posting, I feel I have failed to cite why it is so important to engage Gen X and Y as donors to your organization now. The truth is that the “next gen” (X and Y) could be volunteers today and major gift donors tomorrow.  IN fact, they are already donors now.  Gen X donates a total of $28.6 billion a year and Gen Y donates a total of $9.7 billion each year.  Not bad for a bunch of young kids!

Convio did a study on The Next Generation of American Giving and found that

Gen X (30-45 years old) has a population of 62.0M

  • 58% of the Gen X Population makes donations for a total of 35.96M donors
  • The average Gen Xer contributes $796 per year
  • Estimated total annual contributions from Gen X is $28.6B

Gen Y (30 years old and younger) has a population of 51.0M

  • 56% of the Gen Y Population makes donations for a total of 28.56M donors
  • The average Gen Xer contributes $341 per year
  • Estimated total annual contributions from Gen Y is $9.7B

And the best news is that these younger donors plan to increase their charitable contributions to their top charity next year.

Now that I’ve got you interested in engaging the younger generations, you are probably wondering: How to I engage the younger generation? I’ve got all sorts of ideas here.  A few simple ideas that you can start implementing right away are:

  • To keep in contact with your younger donors, set up a facebook page, twitter account, and a blog for your organization.
  • Utilize e-philanthropy tools to email appeal letters (instead of snail mail).
  • Set up online giving through your organization’s website to allow donors to make a donation online.
  • Create giving web pages to encourage individuals to set goals and solicit their peers for donations.

If you are interested in creating a plan for engaging the younger generations, I would highly recommend that you assess your organization’s current efforts and create a plan to implement additional initiatives. Engaging Tomorrow’s Donors Today provides a great assessment for your organization to determine how well you are currently working with the next generation of donors. You can find it online at www.cshares.org. This assessment will build the foundation for developing a plan to reach the younger generations.

Here are some assessment questions for you to consider.

  • Does your organization have a culture that will be accepting of younger donors and will welcome their active involvement?
  • Does your organization have a strong web presence?
  • Is someone in your organization willing to serve as a champion for a campaign to increase the number of and revenue from younger donors?
  • Does your organization already have some engaged younger donors?
  • Does your organization have ways for younger donors to become meaningfully involved?
  • Does your organization have the ability and resources necessary to modify your communications to appeal to younger donors?

These new technologies, tools and the online world provide access to donors that was not previously there. At the same time, I want to encourage you to continue to implement your current fundraising initiatives and not to lose sight of the fundraising tools you have been using all along. It is too easy to shoot a donor an email, when a phone call or even a personal visit would be more appropriate. Although your donor receives your email newsletter and is a “fan” on facebook, this does not constitute relationship building – this is communication, not cultivation.

Why do you think it is important for your organization to connect with younger donors now?

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