Have trouble getting Boomers to attend your annual events?
Worried that Gen Xers don't increase their financial contributions?
Well, guess what ...
So, what to do? Start by recognizing the differences in charitable attitudes among the various generations.
Generation Definitions and Differences:
Matures. These are people born 1945 and earlier. This would put their age at 68 and older. These individuals were small kids during the depression or WWII. This generation relies upon tried, true and tested ways of doing things. They like consistency and are likely to distrust and be resistant to change. Due to excellent health care, many are still active and in great health. They most likely are grandparents who are focused on family. Asset management and wealth transfer is important to them. Surprisingly though, they are increasingly becoming tech savvy turning to eBay to downsize or are taking computer classes in nursing homes or recreation centers.
Baby Boomers. Also called the Me Generation or the Love Generation, these individuals were born between 1946 to 1964. This generation is the most populous and influential of all. Careers are important to this generation and job titles matter. Family responsibility is likewise important to this generation. Many are becoming empty nesters, becoming grandparents and are taking care of aging parents. This generation is tech savvy and like the convenience of the internet especially for health information. In fact, internet useage for this generation is at a high of 70%. Health and wellness is an important issue for this generation.
Generation X. They were born between 1965 to 1977. This generation became adults during difficult economic times. Compared to the previous generations, more GenX’ers grew up in single parent or working-parents homes. Because of this, this generation tends to be more self reliant and less traditional than any other generation. They tend to be politically pragmatic and less likely to establish affiliations. They would rather volunteer than vote. This generation also tends to be more entrepreneurial and are less likely to be part of the corporate world. Technology and information is important to them. The core values that drive this generation are diversity and global thinking.
Millenials. Also known as Generation Y. This generation grew up in a period of great and fast paced change. They embrace ethnic and cultural diversity. This is the first generation where technology is a given and the internet is a way of life. Emails, cell phones and text messages are the methods of communication. Because of this, physical boundaries were broken and the move towards globalization became inevitable. Here rises the term “global citizen”
This generation is extremely assertive and can be blunt and expressive. Peer acceptance is important to them. Decisions about products and brand choices are influenced by peers. Key words for this generation are collaborate, connect, co-create, and control…mostly with their peers.
Education is important to this generation and they are expected to be the highest educated generation to date.
Now That You Know, How Do You Use This Knowledge?
With core values varying from generation to generation, there is a need to adapt fundraising methods to appeal to what is important to each of them. Overall, 9 out of 10 Americans or 91 percent have made a donation in some form or another in the past 2 or 3 years. These came in forms of clothing - 73%, money - 66%, food -53%, other used items - 45%. Blood donation comprised 18% of the giving.
Matures and Baby boomers want their charities to focus on disaster relief and medical research, while young adults prioritize education and global health.
Older donors relying on tried and tested ways, tend to have well established commitments to their chosen charities. They set aside a budget for charitable giving and already earmark this for their chosen organization. Once they commit to an organization, it becomes pretty much set. While this might be good for this chosen charity, it becomes harder for other charities to come in.
Millenials, compared to the older generations have an idealistic view of giving with 3 out of 10 believing that people have a personal responsibility to make this world a better place by being involved with various issues and causes. Compared to the older generations, young donors tend to give randomly and are influenced by peers. They are more likely to give to a charity if friends or family ask for their donation rather than the charity itself asking. They are influenced by their emotional reaction to something in the media, or based upon who asked. Given this information, the best way to tap into this is to through inspirational stories via the media or via their friends.
A fundraiser’s job is increasingly becoming more difficult. Each generation of donors have a different set of habits and priorities. It is up to a successful fundraiser to rise up to this challenge of connecting people who care with causes that matter to them, and working on your messaging to target a specific audience.