Are you satisfied with your current giving program? Are the donors that give to your organization now the ones you’ll be counting on to sustain your organization into the future? Have you thought about what the shift in generations within the workforce mean for the continued success of your organization?
Now, more than ever, organizations that rely on donor funds need to consider the giving trends among young donors. Online giving is not just a way to make donating to your good cause easier, it’s also a way to generate higher donor percentages and connect with a younger generation of donors.
Think about it: Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979) and Generation Y (1980 to 1995) are the world’s primary income-earning donors. And, on average, 10,000 Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964) retire each day—in just three years, Generation Y will outnumber the Baby Boomers in the workforce. These shifts in the workforce mean a shift in dollars and a shift in where your future donations may come from.
So the question is: Are you ready for this change? Are you setting up philanthropic models and ways of giving that will attract, engage and encourage young donors?
Online giving programs are great examples of ways to engage younger generations and move your organization forward. Currently, the majority of fundraising efforts are targeted toward the mature donors (the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers) and, as noted above, those donors are shrinking and losing their primary sources of income. And quite frankly, the same methods that appeal to an organization’s older donors aren’t working on the younger crowd. So, what’s an organization to do
Get to know your donors
It’s not enough to depend on your organization’s rich history and previous donors to sustain your growth. Likewise, just because you start an online giving program, doesn’t mean donors will come. It’s important to research your potential donors and engage them in joining you on a journey to learn more about your organization. Luckily, Gen Y and, for the most part, Gen X, are pretty forthcoming and transparent about how to involve them in your cause.
Here are some stats to help you out:
- According to Pew Research, Millennials (Gen Y) get their news from TV (65%) and the Internet (59%); are you active online?
- Millennials also list “helping others in need” as one of the top three most important things in their lives (behind being a good parent and having a successful marriage); how will you help them help you?
- Millennials want to feel a personal connection to the organizations they’re supporting and Gen X wants to have a role in leadership and volunteer areas; are you prepared to give them an experience?
- Gen Y and Gen X communicate about organizations they support on social networks; are you providing the right information (in the right space) for them to easily share your story with others?
Online giving programs can reach a new generation of donors
Your organization may still receive mailed donations (this method is most prevalent in Boomers and is still attractive to some Gen Xers), and that’s OK. You still need to include those donors in your mix. And while online giving constitutes just 10 percent of all donation revenue, it is a method that is increasing in preference with Gen X and exceeds mailed donations with Gen Y.
So, it all goes back to the question of sustained growth: Are you prepared for the generation movements that will greatly affect the success of your organization?
A Sea Change Strategies study recently highlighted the differences in various generations of donors and how they engage when it comes to charitable giving. In the study, it was pointed out that online donors have a median age range of 22 to 55 years and, as online donors are coming in at a younger age, these donors are encouraged to continue donating for longer periods of time. And, since these new generations of donors are online, why not provide as much information about your organization as you can; engage them in some conversation and develop those relationships by:
- Providing regular website content updates for those looking to learn more about you online
- Assigning a community manager or social media strategist to engage Gen Y and X online through social media
- Setting up a blog strategy that provides additional information, donor stories and examples of how funds are being used for the great good of your organization