Thursday, June 14, 2012

BIG’s Blog: Just My Luck!

Sometimes I cannot believe my good fortune.

This past Monday, I posted a blog entitled It’s Now Official. For those of you who may have missed it, the point of the blog was to raise the fact that if your organization is not generating 30 and 40-year-old donors, that should be a red flag for the future financial health of your organization.

Well, guess what?

As first reported in the online edition of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the 2012 Millennial Impact Report detailed the results of a new survey of 6,500 people ages 20 to 35, which finds that 75% said that they gave money to a nonprofit in 2011. And 70% said they have helped solicit donations by encouraging colleagues and others to support a cause.

Okay, so how many Millennial donors, let alone late 30 year olds and 40 years olds, do you have on your donor files? And your excuse is that young people don’t have money to give?

The report detailed that 58% reported that their largest contribution was $100 or less, but 16% gave $500 or more. Isn’t your average gift in the 20 or 30 dollar range? Sounds to me like Millennials give the same amount as your current “older” donors.


So what’s the problem? This new report kind of takes away the excuse that “young people don’t give because they don’t have money.” Turns out that not only do they have money, they are donating just like the older cohorts that donate to your organization. Or, maybe a more favorable read of the report is that although Millennials don’t have as much disposable income as older donors, they actually give more of what they have. Sounds to me like donors you should get to know.

So what’s the problem?

You know what? I’ll bet it isn’t one thing, but rather a host of things that are keeping Millennials, as well as Gen Xers, and even the younger Baby Boomers from donating to your organization in proportion to their percentage of the population.

If you’re concerned… and you should be… put together your own focus group of age groups who used to be represented in your donor base but aren’t there today. Show them your donor acquisition material. Show them your appeal letters. Ask them about what media they connect with. Ask them to comment on your messages. This is a great first step to addressing a big problem.

Then, maybe it’s time to think about formulating a new fundraising plan.


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