Monday, September 16, 2013

BIG’s Blog: The Ideal

Frequent readers of this blog know that I describe the major generational cohorts in philanthropy as the Depression-era cohort, World War II cohort, Baby Boomer cohort, Generation X cohort, and Generation Y (also known as the Millennial) cohort.

Depression cohort: born 1912 to 1921
WWII cohort: born 1922 to 1945
Boomer cohort: born 1946 to 1964
Gen X cohort: born 1965 to 1981
Gen Y cohort: born 1982 to 2001

These generational cohorts represent the following (approx.) percentage of the population.

Depression & WWII cohorts: 12.8%
Boomer cohort: 24.5%
Gen X cohort: 19.0%
Gen Y cohort: 27.0%

For philanthropy today (based upon each cohort’s life-stage which most closely corresponds to disposable income, hence giving and grouping the Depression and WWII cohorts into a single category called Matures), the below graph represents the closest to the “Ideal” of what a healthy donor file should look like.

  Graph – courtesy of Target Analytics

The above graph takes into account the size and life-stage of each cohort and the potential giving each should represent.  Matures represent only 12.8% of the U.S. population but represent an outsize proportion of giving, hence 26% of the Ideal donor base whereas Gen Y represents 27% of the population, but only 11% of the giving. Today the Boomer population ranges from age 49 to 67, and most Boomers have established giving patterns, but because of their numbers in the U.S. population (24.5%), in the Ideal, they represent the single biggest share of giving at 43%. This is obviously the Ideal, but in representing the Ideal, it is also an excellent indicator of a healthy and well-balanced support base.

If you don’t know how your organization compares to this Ideal, please reach out to my friends at Trinity Direct (click on the logo link below) and they will do an age overlay of a representative sample of your file. They charge a modest fee for this service, but it is worth it. This is the best way to see how your file compares to the Ideal.  

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