According to a study recently released by Blackbaud, charities that are looking to get the most out of donation efforts should focus on Baby Boomers. The findings compare the giving habits of Boomers (aged 49 to 67) with “Matures” (who are 68 or older), Gen X (33 to 48) and Gen Y (18 to 32). It found that not only are Boomers the largest group numerically, with 51 million individuals comprising 34% of the donor base, they are also the largest contributors, giving an estimated total of $61.9 billion per year (43% of all the dollars donated). Matures accounted for 26% of the donations; Gen X, 20%; and Gen Y 11%.
The study involved an online survey in May of 1,014 U.S. donors 18 or older who had made a monetary donation to at least one non-profit organization or charitable cause within the last 12 months (excluding a trade union, children’s school, alma mater, or place of worship).
Social service charities, houses of worship and health organizations are supported by the largest percentage of donors across all generations, but for other causes there were differences between the generations.
The study also revealed that multichannel engagement is the new normal, but that the ideal mix varies from generation to generation. The majority of donors don’t mind being approached by friends (or friends’ kids) to support a charity. Boomers increasingly give online (as opposed to by mail) — something that hasn’t caught on with the generation older than them. Younger donors are less responsive to telephone solicitation, and more likely to give through the workplace (in contrast to Boomers who are being forced out of corporate jobs). They also like cause-related marketing.
Giving through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks is low and relatively unchanged since 2010 and text to give “appears to be going nowhere,” the study concludes. However, “a relative newcomer to the fundraising scene, community fundraising projects (via platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo) are already gaining traction, especially with younger donors.”