Young Donors and Other Mythical Creatures
Please don't be insulted when I tell you this: You are a statistical anomaly. So anomalous that it probably makes your thinking a little weird.
I'm making two assumptions about you when I say that:
1. You are younger than 65. (If you're older, please be patient while I address these young whipper- snappers. Thank you.)
2. You are a regular donor to charitable causes. (If you aren't, stop reading right now and go make some gifts. Yes, now. Either that or find work in an industry you're willing to participate in.)
If I'm right about these two things, you are an outlier, a curiosity, a freak — a young donor.
That's right — even if you're in your 40s or 50s, you are a rare young donor. (Enjoy this last chance of being thought of as a young anything!) If you're under 40, well, statistically you don't quite exist. Charitable giving is almost entirely dominated by older people. It's their territory, the way pop music belongs to young people.
If you have a sense that there are lots and lots of young donors, it's an illusion — caused by the fact that you are one and you know many others. Thing is, you aren't a tree in the midst of a great forest. You're in a tiny copse in the middle of a vast, treeless plain. The forest is where the old people are.
To hear some fundraisers talk, you'd think this was a terrible state of affairs. "We've got to get more young donors," they cry, with startling intensity.
I think a lot of fundraisers are focused on young donors for two reasons:
1. They're following the strategies of advertisers. For a lot of advertisers, young people are the holy grail. They spend a lot of money on clothing, entertainment and other profitable things. If you're selling jeans or video games, young people are where it's at. If you want people to hand you money for your cause — nope.