Although Baby Boomers make up only 34 percent of the donor pool, they are the generation responsible for giving the lion’s share of donations to charities. In an online survey conducted by a division of Blackbaud, results showed that Boomers gave 43 percent of all money contributed by individuals. And when factoring in giving by the “Matures,” the generation born before 1946, these two groups comprised nearly 70 percent of the estimated total annual giving.
The study also found donors from across the generational spectrum—Millennials, Generation X, Boomers, and Matures—are not expected to significantly increase their giving over the next year. A majority from each group surveyed said they will keep giving at the same level in the coming year and support the same number of charities.
There were also some noteworthy data on behavior of young donors. Nearly 60 percent of Millennials and half of Generation X donors said that seeing results from their contributions influenced their decision to give, whereas only 37 percent of Boomers reported this as a factor. Nonprofits hoping to attract younger donors should look for ways to demonstrate results through photos and stories of how their work makes a significant impact on society.
The findings also indicated that younger donors are less likely to agree that cash gifts are the best way to support charities, with Millennials preferring to donate their time. Thirty percent believed they could make the biggest difference through volunteering. However, the results showed that 42 percent of people in their 70s and beyond were the most likely to have volunteered at a charity in the past year compared to 33 percent of Millennials.
Some additional interesting data on giving from the study:
• 50 percent of all donors have given money at a retail store’s checkout counter
• 39 percent of all donors have given online
• More Boomers give online than through the mail
• Direct mail is still the most popular means of giving for people age 70 or older
• Only six percent of giving is generated by telemarketing
While Baby Boomers are currently the most charitable generation, no group should be taken for granted and organizations should strive to strengthen relationships with donors of all ages. The key is knowing how each generation—and, more importantly, each individual donor—prefers to be communicated with and involved. Use a multi-channel approach. Remember, when the donor feels valued and engaged, financial generosity will follow. You can find a copy of the Blackbaud study titled “The Next Generation of American Giving” here.
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