A Blast From the Past: Millennial Philanthropy (March 2009)
FundRaising Success published its first issue in November 2003, which makes this our 10-year anniversary year. To celebrate, we'll be taking a look back at past issues throughout the year.
Ask any direct-mail fundraiser, and she’ll tell you that the average donor age is approximately 60. Sixty-year-olds give the most money and make up the bulk of volunteers. They also are most likely to serve on nonprofit boards.
I suppose this makes sense, at least among the middle class. By the time folks reach their late 50s and early 60s, they’ve paid down/off their mortgages and put their kids through school, and can afford to redirect more disposable income to charity. Folks in this age bracket also are thinking about their legacies, i.e., what they’ll be remembered for. But this begs a question: If most donors are 60-something, what does this mean for millennial philanthropy? Should we ignore these 75 million younger Americans until they come of “donor age”? Or should we take a different approach to millennial cultivation and giving? And if so, how should we proceed?