Posted , by Keith Curtis. Topic: Donors, Fundraising.

Last Friday, I was one of five Giving Institute members who served on a panel organized by editors of The Chronicle of Philanthropy and moderated by Holly Hall, a Chronicle features editor. The session was part of the Giving Institute’s conference, held in conjunction with the AFP International Conference that kicked off Sunday.

Our panel was tasked with outlining skills needed by fundraisers of the future in relation to four emerging trends cited by Hall: entrepreneurialism, evolving technologies, globalization, and aging of the population.

Our firm specializes in small to mid-size nonprofits (which make up about 90 percent of the nation’s nonprofits), a category not affected as much by globalization and entrepreneurialism as larger, national organizations. So I addressed the aging population. Specifically, I explained that nonprofits need to focus on donors over 50, and here’s why.

Your 50-year-old donors will be prospects for the next 30 to 35 years. Your 60-year-old donors will be prospects for the next 20 to 25 years, and 70-year-old donors will be giving to you for the next 10 to 15 years. These donors will not only make gifts of current assets but future assets. While it’s important to stay up on social media and the younger generation, keep in mind that the 25- and 30-year-olds (my niece and nephews, for instance), who spend their days texting and communicating through Facebook, won’t be big donors for another 15 or 20 years.

It’s also important that your staff have some background in planned giving. You don’t need the technical specifics, but you do need to know how to broach the subject and provide your donor with direction. Essentially today, our aging population requires that your major gift officer or development director also act as your planned giving officer.

Wendy and Wesley are both in Baltimore at the AFP conference, so look for additional posts this week about what they’re learning there.

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