Nonprofit engagement tips for various generations

There are myriad tips and suggestions floating throughout the online ether regarding nonprofit donor engagement and retention - both industry buzzwords nowadays. Although there is a wealth of information available for consultation, charities may find themselves struggling to engage different demographics if they're applying a uniform strategy throughout.

Each generation of benefactors is different from the next, from aspects like financial security to underlying donation motivation and everything in between. It's for these reasons that charities must understand certain demographics and how engagement can be leveraged into increased donation processing:

  • 69+ age group: The oldest generation has also arguably seen the most hardship, having likely fared the Great Depression, World War II and a multitude of other global historical events. Most elder adults have been outpaced by technological advancements, so it may come as a surprise that they are the fastest-growing demographic on social media. According to a recent Wishpond infographic, 11 percent of the 1.2 billion global Facebook users are senior citizens - and their net worth is 47 times greater than households headed by those 35-49 years old. Social doesn't always equate to tech-savvy young adults anymore, apparently.
  • 50-68 age group: Otherwise known as the Baby Boomers, this generation is widely-known for its high print readership. However, just like their older generation counterparts, boomers have been found to use the Internet an average of 19 hours per week, according to a joint study by Google and Ipsos. Interestingly enough, this demographic was found to be video-savvy as well. The report noted that 54 percent of boomers watch online video, as compared with 65 percent of the general population. While they're online and rapidly adopting social media, video engagement is growing quickly amongst this group.
  • 35-49 age group: Also known as Generation X, the middle-aged cohort is known to have better financial backing than younger millennials, but be more tech-savvy than older demographics. A recent Charity Dynamics and Nonprofit Technology Network joint study found that 19 percent of the more than 1,000 donors surveyed in the 30-39 age bracket donated at least $5,000 or more last year to their favorite charity - the highest total among all other age groups polled. It should be no surprise  that these individuals prefer a streamlined online donation form as opposed to mailing a traditional check. Nonprofits can find this age group primarily on social media online as well as on mobile apps - a technology they're becoming more adept with.
  • 14-34 age group: The young adults of today are often branded as lazy and entitled, but they were recently found to be more inclined to donate to a cause they support. Specifically, 52 percent of respondents in Achieve's "2014 Millennial Impact Report" said that while they don't have much to give, they'd be interested in monthly donations to a charity of their choice - a fairly telling statistic for the lowest-earners in the professional workforce. Nonprofits should know that young adults can be found online and through mobile channels, but just because they're not as financially stable doesn't mean they won't give. A formulated relationship now could end up lead to an organization processing donations down the road.
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