The Future of Fundraising: What a Difference Five Years Will Make
I have looked the future of fundraising in the face. More like 83 million faces, with the oldest just reaching 30.
Yes, the millennials, those born between 1981 and 2000, are coming. And, yes, they are the largest generation in American history. (Sorry fellow boomers, we’ve been usurped.)
If you’re like most fundraisers right now, you’re probably saying, “OK, no big deal, if the oldest are only now reaching 30, then we’ll begin soliciting them in 20 years or so.”
But you don’t have that long. You have about five years. Tops. Here’s why. At the moment, baby boomers represent about 70 percent of the nation’s generated personal income. That obviously means they are the largest and most influential donors and supporters of nonprofits of all kinds. Millennials currently represent only 5 percent.
But, starting this year, boomers will be retiring at a rate of 10,000 a day. Let me repeat that … 10,000. A day. This means that by 2016, boomers will represent only 20 percent of all income, while the millennials will rise to 55 percent.
That’s 2016, not 2031. I’m certainly no math wiz, but even I know that’s just five years from now. (But I do admit counting with my fingers.)
So what does this mean for fundraisers today?
The first and most obvious answer is you better get started building relationships with millennials. And I mean right away. Today. But forget trying to do so through direct mail.
While a recent survey indicates that of all donors, across all age groups, 61 percent have stated a preference for online giving, 89 percent of millennials state this preference.
Which really shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is the generation that didn’t need to adopt technology as it came along. It was born into it. (In fact, I’m pretty sure my own millennial daughter came out of the womb texting.)