'Hipsters': Reaching the Next Niche Generation of Donors
“Hipsters” are a generation of highly educated professionals in their 20s and 30s who make increasingly disposable incomes. They were born under the watchful eyes of focus groups, and Google started as they began high school. Hipsters are your newest crop of donors, but how do you reach them?
Many fundraisers view hipsters as the unmarketable demographic unless you're an advertiser that specializes in “scenester” twentysomethings and thirtysomethings. This is simply not true. Hipsters are a solid middle-class demographic, and they are eager to absorb any cultural zeitgeist. By providing takeaways at events or delivering messages through post or e-mail, nonprofits can integrate their missions into the daily lives of hipsters to succeed more effectively in accomplishing their goals.
Being raised in a “disposable” material culture, hipsters constantly receive takeaways in the mail — from restaurants and local nonprofit special events or membership drives. How do you differentiate your institution's takeaway from the ones that end up discarded? Relevance! Your takeaway will make its impact with your potential hipster donors if you can successfully tie it to your mission and make it relevant to their lifestyle.
Hipsters are having children or already have children under the age of 8. Like all parents, they want their children to grow up well-balanced and to have meaningful, family-centered experiences. According to a Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University study, the hipster generation is more likely than any other group to cite “make the world a better place” as a main philanthropic motivation. That is a value these donors teach their children by getting involved in the programming of myriad nonprofits. With an easy, at-home, mission-based activity, your donors can bond with their children through your organization, making the potential of creating two generations of committed lifelong donors.
While working at an early childhood art school, I sent newly registered families a thank-you e-mail that included a .pdf file of a parent/child art lesson using materials commonly found in the home. Ninety-five percent of parents in the test class who received the at-home activity made volunteer and financial commitments, while only 10 percent of the control class who did not receive the activity did the same.