The New Face of Donors
The reactive young adults born between 1965 and 1977 are the first generation that doesn't believe life will be better for them than it was for their parents. Following the much-heralded boom, the media convinced us that busters could do nothing right. They were the throwaway children of divorce and poverty, the latchkey kids. Reactives were neither trusted nor appreciated as youth and carry the scars into adulthood. They are the most conservative-leaning youths of the 20th century. Generation Xers will need convincing proof that your organization is reliable and will simplify rather than complicate their lives.
* Preferred Message Style: blunt and kinetic, with an appeal to brash survivalism. They see their role in life pragmatically. They want to fix rather than change. They are highly influenced by technology and television.
* Financial Style: Generation X has a different view of the good life. They are more concerned with the acquisition of intangibles: a rich family or spiritual life, a rewarding job, the chance to help others, and the opportunity for leisure and travel or for intellectual and creative enrichment. Many are still being supported in adulthood by parents and have high discretionary income they will give to charities they work with. Highly computer literate, they prefer the cashless society.
* Key Life Events: the crumbling of the Berlin Wall and opening of Eastern Europe.
BABY BOOMLET (Generation Net or Y)
The civic-minded children of boomers, the first wave of Generation Net (born from 1977 through 1985) hold many of the values of their grandparents but with a global context, thanks in large part to technology. Generation Netters are growing up in a world without boundaries and are likely to extend their philanthropy well past their own countries.
Judith E. Nichols is a New York City-based consultant. Her newest book is "Pinpointing Affluence in the 21st Century," and she can be reached at 503.349.3212 or by e-mail at email@example.com.