9 Simple Ways to Reach Different Generations of Donors Successfully

9 Simple Ways to Reach Different Generations of Nonprofit Donors SuccessfullyWe’re in the midst of a generational shift: Millennials have recently surpassed Boomers as the largest generation in America, and have surpassed Generation X as the largest part of the American workforce.

As these changes happen, nonprofits should take a look at their marketing channels and make sure they are using the right methods to reach each generation.

The biggest mistake nonprofit organizations can make is using a blanket approach to try to connect with the entirety of their current donor base or reach out to gain new donors.

Each generation is unique when it comes to expectations, values, experiences, giving habits and communication preferences, so your marketing strategy should reflect that.

Once you achieve a better understanding of what makes each generation different, your nonprofit will be able to take whatever great fundraising ideas you may have and effectively engage more people to increase attendance at your next event, grow the members of your volunteer program, and get more donations than you’ve ever imagined.

Understanding Generational Giving Behaviors is Key to Maximizing Supporter Engagement and Investment

Take a look at this useful generational giving infographic about the giving behavior of the four key demographic segments in the US.

Charitable-Giving-By-Generation-MobileCause

 

Why people give does not vary as much as how they give. 

So understanding their preferred communications channels becomes increasingly important.

Let’s take a closer look at today’s different demographic segments.

Millennials and Gen Xers make up of over two-thirds of the workforce today.

Why is this important? Being part of the workforce means getting a paycheck, and with a paycheck comes the ability to donate to causes. With the vast majority of Millennial and Gen X donors owning a smartphone, mobile giving will soon dominate the fundraising landscape.

Millennials: Age 18-35

There is a perception Millennials are self-centered but they may be far more generous than you think, wanting to take action for causes they care about.

Millennials are active on their phones and respond best to text messages and social media, but rarely respond to personal email or voice calls.

They tend to watch videos online and check the organization’s website before making a gift. Over 62% gave through a mobile device at about $25 per donation, but as Millennials climb the pay scale, that number is projected to grow.

Gen Xers: Age 36-50

These donors are most likely to fundraise on behalf of a cause, make a pledge, and volunteer their time to an organization.

These donors check email regularly, stay up to date on social media feeds, and prefer to receive communication by text message making mobile and online solutions vital in targeting them.

They also volunteer more and more often than any other generation. This is a huge opportunity for your nonprofit because volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers.

  • Gen Xers donate an average of $732 annually
  • 80% own a smartphone (2nd only to Millennials)
  • 59% give to charity
  • 30% of Gen Xers volunteer—more than any other generation

Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation are retired or heading there, meaning that their donation behaviors will soon start to change.

Once Boomers and the Greatest Generation retire, they tend to end up volunteering more as well. Incomes may be fixed, but many have done well and are more generous as other obligations fall away.  How they give is different than their younger counterparts, but they are still important for philanthropy.

Baby Boomers: Age 50-68

You may think Boomers don’t have tech skills but don’t underestimate them—they’ve adopted mobile and social technology at a rapid rate. On average, boomers spend 19 hours a week online and 71 percent use a social networking site daily.

These donors answer calls and check their email on a regular basis.

Recurring giving is the norm for a lot of Boomers, who make up 21% of all monthly donors.

When it comes to online fundraising boomers have been a growing and driving force in recent years. In 2010 just 44% of boomers donated online, today over 60% give online.

  • Boomers donate an average of $1,212 annually
  • 54% own a smartphone
  • 72% give to charity

Greatest (or Silent) Generation: Age 69+

This generation is very civic minded and their experiences and values make them great contributors to your organization. They feel like the biggest difference they make is through the money they donate.

These donors’ preference of communication are voice calls and direct mail. They are late adopters of email and rarely use text messaging or social media.

  • Greatests donate an average of $1,367 annually
  • 27% own a smartphone
  • 88% give to charity – a higher percentage than any other group

5 Simple Ways to Engage Millennial and Gen X Donors

1. Reap the benefits of mobile marketing with a 98% open rate

Utilize a text-to-donate campaign to target Millennials and Gen Xers where they spend most of their time: on their smartphone.

Text messages have a 98% open rate which almost guarantees that your message will be seen, keeping your supporters engaged and up-to-date with your cause.

2. Save time and money by using social media effectively

Implement a social media strategy to engage supporters through the social networks where they are most active online.

Find out which networks your supporters frequent and focus on the channels where you will get the most engagement. If most of your supporters are on Facebook and Twitter, then you will probably want to hold off on Snapchat until you nail down the strategy for the others.

Here are helpful tips and free tools to implement into your social media strategy to save your organization time and money.

3. Create compelling videos to tell a story about your cause

Most Millennials have no patience for traditional marketing methods like flyers and other direct mail. They want to learn about and build a relationship with your organization before they decide to become donors or volunteers in the future, and video is one of the best ways to do that.

Make sure to include a call to action at the end of the video, be it to donate to your cause or subscribe to your channel. Learn more about video marketing for your nonprofit.

4. Mobile-friendly websites and donation forms are a must

Over 80% of Millennials and Gen Xers own a smartphone which makes it absolutely imperative that your organization’s online presence is optimized for mobile devices.

The amount of people from these groups that your organization can engage with will be affected by how mobile-friendly your website and online donation forms are. Mobile solutions allow these groups to:

  • Make donations
  • Become volunteers
  • Join your cause
  • Sign up for events

Optimizing these for mobile delivery will allow you to appeal to this fast-growing group, which will bring your organization lasting success for years to come.

5. Crowdfunding campaigns can garner fast results

Crowdfunding is emerging as one of the very best ways to gain new donors. Don’t believe it? 5 out of 8 donors crowdfunding for nonprofits are new to each organization and the average individual collects $612.

Volunteers, advocates, celebrities, and corporate partners can raise donations from friends and family using their own peer-to-peer fundraising pages shared across social media, text message, and email.

90% of Millennials and Gen Xers are receptive to these peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, which are now generating ⅓ of all online donations.

4 Simple Ways to Engage Donors 50+

1. Reach a wide range of donors through email marketing

Email is still one of the most effective ways to reach supporters young and old. A 2013 Pew Research Center study, shows 70% of adults 65 and older use the internet on a daily basis.

You do not want to miss a chance to reach potential large donors that are waiting for you to ask them for donations through email. Over 50% give to charity in response to an email and over 80% use email on a regular basis, so an effective email strategy can cultivate great results.

2. Direct mail drives online donations

For many people, direct mail is annoying and often gets thrown away, but it is still embraced by older generations and drives these donors to make online donations. However, a poor online experience will actually decrease giving.

Direct mail is not dead and can play a strong supporting role in multi-channel fundraising. 35% of donors say they prefer to respond to direct mail by giving online. For each direct mail campaign sent, follow up with 3 compelling messages across your online channels.

3. Personal phone calls

Older generations still enjoy interacting over the phone and establishing a relationship with the caller before they decide to give. Around 15% of Boomers and Greatest Generation donors still give over the phone.

It is also important to listen to your potential donor when you make your call and find out how people feel about your organization. This information will tell you how to personalize the ask, increasing your chance to get them to donate.

4. In person

Make sure that when you speak to donors face-to-face your passion for your cause shines through. Anyone can read off a bunch of stats and facts, but if you are not actively displaying passion for your organization and showing how you care, then neither will your donor. Show interest in your donor too. Make it a conversation where you also ask them to share their passion with you. The key is making them feel like they mean more to your organization than just dollars.

Don’t forget to ask them for their email so you can keep in touch. And ask them if there are social media channels they frequent. In a short period of time, you’ll be able to engage them with your organization across channels, thus engaging more consistently, increasing their loyalty and causing them to be more pre-disposed to give to your cause.

One constant across generations is managing relationships, which has not changed.

What is changing is how to manage and cultivate those relationships. Nonprofit leaders need to embrace the changes in the generational giving landscape. In the upcoming years, the fundraising landscape will continue to shift more and more towards mobile and online. Your fundraising plans need to change to fit the desires and needs of the future.

More and more of your supporters are on social media and are attached to their smartphones. In order to be successful you will need to expand your marketing efforts to connect with your supporters through online and mobile channels to increase engagement and giving to your cause for years to come.

Steve PageThis is a guest post from Steve Page, blogger, marketer, and webmaster for MobileCause, a mobile and online fundraising software platform for a new generation of donors. Steve enjoys helping nonprofit organizations with their websites and getting their online campaigns running successfully.

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13 Smart Year-End Fundraising Strategies

Team toasting

Here’s to December 31st!

It’s here, it’s here!

That giving time of year!

My dear, don’t fear!

It’s time to get in gear!

Good cheer, get clear,

As the year-end draws near…

Bad poetry aside, it really is the time to get all your ducks in a row so you don’t miss out on this time of year when many charities will receive as much as 40% of their entire annual campaign goal.

So I’ve got 13 tips to give your year-end fundraising a shot in the arm!Continue Reading

How to Tap Into the Power of Social Media to Find Nonprofit Donors

Are you still using yesterday's tools to find today's donors?

Are you still using yesterday’s tools to find today’s donors?

Where do you go to look for new donors to support your nonprofit in 2014?

If you’ve not yet tapped into the power of electronic communication to find new supporters – social, mobile, email, crowd funding, online donating — read my recent post on Maximize Social Business: The Answer to Finding Nonprofit Donors: Social Media.

While this is in no way a slam dunk, neither is any type of lead generation strategy a magic bullet to converting leads into donors. You still have to do the hard work of building relationships with these folks. Yet… Continue Reading

ONE BIG THING Your Nonprofit Must Do TODAY to Succeed in 2014

Stop pussy footing around! It's not about YOU and how pretty you are.

Stop pussy footing around! It’s not about YOU and how pretty you are.

Adopt an integrated inbound marketing and fundraising strategy.

If you don’t know what that means, you’re in trouble. Read on.  If you do know, are you really doing it? It’s time to stop pussy footing around this.

Here’s why:

(1) Nonprofit marketing and fundraising have changed more in the past five years than the preceding 50. I’m not kidding!  The digital revolution ended business as usual.

(2) Fundraising and marketing must be seamlessly integrated. They cannot be separate silos any longer.

Have you caught up with reality?Continue Reading

Where Have all The Donors Gone? Three Guesses

What's going on?

What’s going on?

That’s the question that has fundraisers everywhere scratching their heads and crying in their beers.

Hmmn…

Donor retention has continued to plummet every year for the past seven years.  It’s really, truly an awful problem. For some unknown reason, all that hard work you put into acquiring new donors is, seemingly, being wasted. Why?Continue Reading

How One Nonprofit Got Warren Buffet to Invest through Crowd Fundraising

 

Warren Buffet Invests in Nonprofit IPO

What a great investment!

Fresh Look – Crowd Fundraising Trend

Crowd fundraising offers a huge new opportunity for nonprofits to acquire new donors and expand their base of support. Thus far it’s mostly been used for peer-to-peer campaigns, but one nonprofit recently employed it in a very clever new way.Continue Reading

One Thing You Absolutely Must Know about Today’s Donor Engagement Journey

Philanthropy, Not Fundraising

Disco Dave Duckboat Tour Guide

What do you and this Duck Boat tour guide have in common?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make an assumption.  Here goes: Your goal is to attract supporters and invest in long-term relationships that will sustain your mission. If your goal is different, read no further.  Otherwise… carry on.Continue Reading

April Fools Day is Coming: Is Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Ready?

joker on playing card dressed as fool

Are you just fooling around?

If any of the following apply to you, your nonprofit is not ready for the 21st century. The cure? Read Monday’s post to get serious and avoid being pranked — or spanked! — for failing to embrace the fact that we’re all social businesses now. Truly, it’s time to get serious (just not today; for now, have a little fun, a super good week-end and… get determined after April 1st). Let’s get in the spirit!

Do you:Continue Reading

Do You Make These 5 Social Media Mistakes?

stop sign

Stop Making Last Year’s Mistakes

Happy 2013!  Since 13 is one of my lucky numbers, I know it’s going to be a good year. You’ll see that Clairification has a fresh look, and that’s going to be the theme for this year.  A fresh look. A clairifying look, if you will.  So… since so many of you have questions about social media, let’s start by blowing out a few cobwebs and clearing our heads.  Because if you think any of these things, you’re making a mistake.

Continue Reading

Two Things Nonprofits Must Know about Social Media to be Donor-Centered


This month I’m writing about how to be donor centered. Today I’m taking us in a perhaps unexpected direction – the path of social media.  What does that have to do with being donor centered? Everything. There are two principle reasons why:

1.  Social media is about relationships, not technology. Your constituents want a relationship. We talk so much about the importance of building relationships in the nonprofit world that it’s truly perplexing to still hear folks asking “do we really need to do social media?” 
 Social media is not only pervasive; it’s inherently ‘social’ — an act of attraction. It asks who’s interested?  Who wants to participate?
2.  Your constituents expect you to be where they are. Donors communicate information through a multitude of channels, and want to be connected to their causes constantly — on their own terms. If we’re not where our donors are, they’ll engage with someone else who is.
We’ve entered a new era in nonprofit marketing where Winging It with Social Media No Longer Works. You need to take control of your social media marketing with a donor-centered strategic plan. In a nutshell:
1.      Listen Assign someone to pay attention to what folks are saying.  Charge someone with responsibility to respond to constituent comments. Check out these free listening tools.
2.      Engage Have a purpose. Be intentional. Check out Need a Social Media Strategy? by Kivi Leroux Miller.
3.      Measure How are you measuring the return (qualitative; not just quantitative) on your investment of resources? Check out Do You Believe in Life After Likes?; How to build an engagement ladder, and Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World.
4.      Integrate Combine social media with your other marketing strategies to assure consistent messaging. Check out How to Integrate Social Media with Traditional Media.
5.      Collaborate Don’t silo social media in a corner as the province of a lower-level staff member. Make it an organization-wide collaboration. Check out Beth Kanter and Alison Fine’s The Networked Nonprofit.
6.      Help (Don’t just sell) Don’t just push out stuff, asking people to do something for you.  Offer something of value.
Check out my full post on the subject on Windmill Networking  .  Then let me know what you think!