I'm young....thank you very much. I grew up with color TV, game consoles, remote control everything, and computers/computer chips. The following statements should solidify this for you:
My best friend's grooms cake was in the shape of a Super Nintendo console (hey, we went to Ga Tech...don't judge my people).
Checking Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and 4 different blogs are normal parts of my morning regime...and bedtime regime....and lunch break.
I found my way through 3 foreign countries without the use of a single atlas/printed map of any kind (thank you Google)
I Google everything. I helped buy a house I found on Google, then decorated it with things I bought through Google, planted only Zone 5 flowers (thanks Google), and taught myself how to hang the light fixtures thanks to Google. Doesn't everyone know how to Google?!
[sidenote: I asked the above question to my grandmother, who's response was, "Oh honey, I googled all the time in my 20's, but I didn't go around telling people!" Oh the places your mind wanders when your elderly, needle-pointing Nana lays THAT one on you]
That being said, I work on the non-profit team at BKV, where I help out with the direct mail for the Planned Giving program of one of our clients. The target audience for this direct mail consists of men and women mainly over the age of 70. Needless to say, they probably don't know how to use Facebook or Twitter, nor how to Google it. My grandmother, mentioned above, wrote down each of the 35 (THIRTY FIVE) steps it took her to open the Internet (22 of these steps were filed under "turning on the computer")...have I proved my point yet?
Which brings me to my very round-about point- know your audience! I AM old enough to know that it is crucial to know who you are marketing to, and to look at the world from their perspective. It's marketing 101. I can't expect my 79 year old Nana to hop online and fill out an electronic survey, make an online donation via a PURL, or get excited over a Christmas e-card. Don't even think about mentioning EFT. On the other hand, I can't expect my little sister to go check her college P.O. Box every day for direct mail, or even check her 2 separate SPAM email accounts. She literally has 2 email accounts dedicated to the fluff email she does not want to read (um....so do I).
In the non-profit sector, you approach your audience a little differently than a typical product or service. Your audience ideally knows you, and cares about your charity. Additionally, you most likely don't have the sort of marketing budget to bombard inboxes OR mailboxes in the hopes of hitting that home run. Each appeal you send, or the ONE appeal you send, should be segmented perfectly, tested to infinity, and targeted flawlessly to the correct people, through the correct medium. If you're focusing on the googling youth of today, make sure you're making room in that budget for some paid search and social media efforts. For my grandmother and her friends, they want some direct mail. And a phone call if you're serious about them. And presents. They like a good premium. Everyone else in between, you'll need a closely monitored, and closely tested, mixture of direct mail and online presence. In the words of Mal Warwick, "Gaining a share of any individual's mind has become a challenge in its own right-a challenge that's only met when we make optimal use of every available channel of communications to relate to our constituents, making as many adjustments as possible to individual preferences, views, and values." If you're targeting any audience under 65, you better have an online option to purchase, donate, sign petitions, contact congressmen, adopt puppies, and opt out of all of the above. Regardless of the medium...BKV can help!