Survey: Weak Economy Means Seniors Give Less
The country’s economic crisis will force donors, especially older adults, to cut their contributions to charities for the rest of the year, according to a recently released survey.
But those between the ages of 25 and 34 will increase their donations, according to the survey by direct-response marketing and fundraising firm Grizzard Communications Group, which is headquartered in Atlanta.
The survey showed that only 13 percent of respondents expect to increase their giving for the remainder of 2008, while 29 percent plan to decrease it.
Bill Jacobs, vice president of research and analytics and senior strategist with Grizzard, says the surprising results were those related to age. Donors between the ages of 25 and 34 are more likely to increase their giving in the fall, while those over the age of 65 are more likely to give less, according to the survey.
Jacobs says the survey makers aren’t sure why younger donors plan to be more generous.
“Our initial thoughts were maybe due to the election cycle — there have been so many reports on the Democratic side of how much is being donated by young donors over the Internet,” he says. “But the young people who responded [to the survey] who were most likely to give more were … conservative, married women.”
The survey, which was conducted in late July, generated a pool of 495 respondents who made a financial contribution to a charity other than a house of worship in the past 12 months. Of those respondents, 10 percent were between the ages of 25 and 34, 15 percent were 35 to 44, 24 percent were 45 to 54, 26 percent were 55 to 64, and 17 percent were over the age of 65.
The survey results should tell nonprofit organizations that it’s time to beef up their efforts in terms of these younger folks.
“What it communicates to us is you have to communicate in a multichannel fashion,” Jacobs says.
In the fall, Grizzard plans to “freshen up” its control packages to cater to those between the ages of 25 and 34. That, Jacobs says, includes switching up colors and adding Web landing pages.
Survey results also showed that about 44 percent of the respondents look to contribute the same amount as they gave last fall. Approximately 29 percent plan to give less to charity and 26 percent expect to stop giving.
“As we continue to face these hard economic times, it’s imperative that we continue to focus on building stronger relationships with an organization’s best donors,” Grizzard CEO Chip Grizzard said in a press release. “Acquisition efforts continue to decline and will be even more difficult this year. That makes donor retention absolutely critical.”