How to Engage Younger Donors: Refresh that Donor-Base!

By BKV in Non-Profit on May 26th, 2010

Recently, the BKV non-profit team attended the International Fundraising e-Conference; three days of virtual learning on all things online fundraising. One session that was interesting for any fundraiser was all about engaging a new generation of donors, which will ultimately refresh and replenish a donor-base...the "heart" of any organization (and a LOST reference for this fan). The presentation was led by Vinay Bhagat, founder of Convio, and his slide deck told the story of giving habits of Generation Y, Generation X, Baby Boomers and Matures as gleaned through focus groups, and then administering online surveys to 1500+ donors in January 2010. Bottom line: The art & science of fundraising is changing, and organizations need to be prepared to engage an entirely new generation and meet them where they currently congregate: online. The facts: Gen Y donors support 3.6 charities a year, and they plan to increase their giving by 31% in 2011. Gen X donors support 4.2 charities a year, and they plan to increase their giving by 24% in 2011. Those are dollars you want! How to reach 'em: Gen Y and Gen X donors become most aware of their favorite charities by word of mouth, social networking, and through volunteer opportunities. They want the connection with their preferred charity, and want to spend time engaging with them. They are also more likely to give online (53% and 47%, respectively), so a strong web presence is a must. These are the donors that are going to replace your Baby Boomers and Mature donors as they pass away or become planned givers...we have to be where they are. Yes, fundraising is still profoundly multi-channel, especially since currently donors in a any sustained giving program continue to respond by mail. But if we're going to replenish those donors, we need to start focusing online. Building connections to make younger donors your new sustainers starts now, through outreach programs and interactive experiences. You can view the full presentation here and read more on specific statistics. In the meantime, talk to us! We can help you build an online fundraising program to lay the foundations of engaging younger donors today. And don’t ponder the finale of LOST too much; the polar bear on The Island was just a red-herring...or was it... account