Fundraising Through the Years
Customizing a fundraising campaign that speaks to every generation isn’t just a question of whether an appeal should be delivered by postman or sent electronically to an inbox.
The method of delivery matters, but so does its message, Blackbaud enterprise solutions engineer Samantha Cohen said at a Blackbaud Delivers event held earlier this month in Philadelphia.
“It’s not just mail for the older and e-mail for the younger,” Cohen said. “It’s about what you say.”
Demographics affect retention
Cohen explained that fundraisers must remember that each age group seeks a different relationship with the institutions it supports.
“It is much more than word choices and cultural references,” she said. “A well-defined mission can appeal to different cohorts.”
The key is for organizations to understand the generations and their ideas, and incorporate them into their fundraising regimes. To get to know various generations better, Cohen recommended reading “Boom, Bust and Echo: How to Profit From the Coming Demographic Shift” by David K. Foot and Daniel Stoffman.
“Boom, Bust and Echo” outlines the understanding of basic demographic dynamics, which can explain current patterns in consumer behavior.
“Donations are a purchase and should be treated that way,” Cohen said.
Age is a very important factor in terms of fundraising because everyone ages and, as they do, Cohen said, life-cycle phases govern their attitudes, careers and discretionary income spending habits.
There are the baby boomers, who were born between 1947 and 1966 and are considered the “me” generation. Despite that perception, however, boomers soon will start to shift focus to their legacies, Cohen said.
Boomers are less willing to comparison shop, and they seek quality and a high level of service. Their volunteerism is likely to increase as relatively healthy individuals leave the workforce and look for something to fill the void.