4 Nonprofit Donor Demographics Trends for 2015
To get a handle on what’s in store for 2015, NonProfit PRO rounded up some of the nonprofit industry’s finest, who were kind enough to share their nonprofit trends for 2015. Here are four trends on donor demographics.
Carl Bloom, chairman, Carl Bloom Associates
1. We have seen an improvement in fundraising performance as we have come out of the great recession. Since we deal with cultural organizations, health care, advocacy and other fields, we are looking for larger than average size gifts. This November we have seen a dramatic increase in size of contributions — a good many in places that have had large increases in wealth.
For example, it was interesting to learn that because of the U.S. becoming a big supplier of old and natural gas through fracking, a lot of people who were of modest financial means became wealthy overnight. Farms and cattle ranches are being leased annually by the big oil companies, who are exploring for more energy resources. Some of these newly rich are handing over huge checks (like they don’t know what to do with their money) to certain nonprofits they couldn’t afford to support before. Other places where successful high-tech development is making new millionaires of employees are showing better response and revenues.
So going into 2015, fundraisers should look the country over and try to go where the rich are getting richer, and some in the middle class and below are becoming rich. At the same time as we observe that, the middle has been reduced with the resultant large disparity between them and the 1 percenters.
As a class of people, don’t rely on the boomers to rescue or play a large role in the support of small, medium and large nonprofits; they’ll be busy keeping themselves afloat. The greater number of these people have not saved enough to take care of themselves in retirement and are continuing their work or looking for part-time work to supplement their incomes.
As many of us expect, the 65-plus people will be the best direct-mail responders, and from reports I’ve heard younger citizens are going for the sustainer monthly giving opportunity. It looks like we’re having a trend in sustainer giving. For many it’s a real convenience and one-stop involvement in contributing without the concern about renewing one’s gift.
While online or email giving isn’t yet a major source of revenue, it is increasing among the younger and older folks. More and more senior citizens are getting into the Internet and online giving. We just want to make sure that we are not just pulling donors from one channel into another — the name of the game is increasing overall giving. The more channels are in play the more contributions will increase; people have their preferences for the channels through which the will contribute.
We hear of some success in canvass giving, particularly for sustainer giving. Retention of sustainers generated in canvassing is more solid than single one-time gifts.
While all the projections are interesting and fun, the stock market is giving us some pause for concern — so far, the market has been very volatile, so some wealthy individuals who were feeling good about the future and their own accounts may hesitate to be big-time contributors over the next few months.
What might serve us best is to have optimism for 2015; it could keep us working hard in our pursuit of the dollar and be reflected in our strategies and creative.
Tycely Williams, association director of major gifts, YMCA of Metropolitan Washington
2. We are witnessing the greatest transfers of wealth; it is important to ensure Generations X and Y understand the unique value proposition offered by charities — some of the nontraditional planned major and/or planned giving prospects will inherit sizable assets, aside from the discretionary money many of them have (due to marrying later, having fewer or no children).
Christine Barnes, senior director of donors services, Humane Society of the United States
3. With the millennials entering the giving landscape, we need to adjust our communication styles to adapt. Our communications need to be more visual, and we need to provide more storytelling that engages the donor in as few words as possible.
Rich Dietz, senior product manager, digital fundraising, Abila
4. Millennial engagement: According to Brookings, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. As millennials enter the workforce and have money to spend, organizations will need to put strategies in place to best engage this demographic. Many follow a different path to becoming a donor than is traditionally done, and nonprofits will need to adapt to these differences.