Tuesday, September 6, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Hello?

I’ve had eight conversations with different nonprofit fund raisers over the past two weeks that all came down to essentially the same question, “Will younger generational cohorts continue to support our work?”

Implicit in the question is the recognition that today the organization is drawing very few donors below the Baby Boomer cohort. This means their donor base is getting older and older, year after year.

Why is this?

Well, there certainly is more than one reason that could affect the long-term viability of a nonprofit organization. But, there is one issue that was common to all the organizations I talked to.

How about, “If you want to shoot ducks, you go where the ducks are.”

Have you ever heard of or Netflix? Both of these companies are less than 15 years old. Netflix has over 25 million subscribers. Since Zappos is now a part of, they don’t break out their numbers separately, but, we know that they are pushing to break $2 billion in sales.

Neither Zappos nor Netflix has ever mailed a piece of direct mail or catalog to generate a customer. Yet today, their customer base contains customers from each generational cohort in approximately the percentage the generational cohort is of the population as a whole.

This means they have customers in their 20’s and 80’s.

What is it my 20-something age daughters say when I voice some “obvious to them,” “out of touch” comment?”


Where do you think the ducks are today?

The Internet changes everything!


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