Technology Is Not One-Size-Fits-All
The explosion of technology tools available to fundraising professionals has become a game-changer, making it easier to gather, sort and store valuable donor data and insights. As fundraising professionals juggle to engage and retain donors and prospects across multi-generations, technology-infused tactics can help boost profits and save valuable time and resources.
Fundraising professionals need to develop a comprehensive and robust donor stewardship strategy that works across generations, including seniors, Baby Boomers, Gen
Xers and Millennials. Donor outreach tactics must take into account the generation they are attempting to court. Understanding the impact of technology as it relates to each generation will help you develop a clear, more successful road map to attracting, engaging and retaining donors.
Millennials, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers
Millennials or individuals born roughly between 1977 to 1995 now make up an estimated 75.4 million Americans. Many are settling into their careers and are on the cusp of commanding the largest wallet power. So how do you best connect?
- Millennials are digital natives who grew up using technology, but are still old enough to remember how things used to be before additional digital options burst on the scene in the 1990s.
- Millennials thrive on sharing their thoughts, ideas and actions with their friends both on and offline. They enjoy the constant connectedness of life.
- They grew up with early “messaging” and enjoy the fast-paced interaction of texts.
- Yet, many Millennials are peer influenced and attracted to nonprofit causes through hands-on experiences.
- Millennials enjoy rolling up their sleeves and actively volunteering to help a cause, often working in teams with either friends or work colleagues.
Baby Boomers or individuals born roughly between 1946 and 1964 make up approximately 75.9 million Americans and studies indicate 72 percent of the generation supports 4.5 charities per year. As they continue to move into their retirement years, many boomers are planning their wealth transfer.
- Baby Boomers came to technology later in life. Most have learned to embrace technology and the power of instant research on the Internet.
- Baby Boomers tend to be more reflective than impulsive, often researching a charity to seek more information on what they do or to learn more about the impact on those served before making a decision to support that entity.
- Baby Boomers may not be as receptive to the sense of urgency to donate as they open their emails and see a brightly colored “donate now” button.
Generation X shares some features of both Millennials and of Baby Boomers. However, like Millennials:
- Generation Xers enjoy the connectivity of social media where they can quickly share with their friends what it most important to them with the ease of speed.
- Generation Xers prefer texts to direct mail or email, as they move throughout their day with smartphone close at hand.
Embracing technology aids in streamlining high-labor tasks, as well as providing new ways to report, review and expand opportunities to engage with donors at all levels. Online fundraising and mobile giving can be employed to reach multi-generations of donors to capture a one-time donation for emergency action, a singular contribution at an event or to provide repeating monthly support. Online fundraising tactics have taken hold, enabling fundraisers to quickly and easily segregate donors with targeted messages, calls-to-action or a specific donation request. Event invitations, registration for activities including volunteering and mentoring have moved online, freeing up time to spend on cultivating and strengthening donor relationships rather than on labor intensive tasks of telephone outreach or tracking mailed RSVPs.
People of all generations are increasingly enjoying the portable power of the “computer on the go” that a smartphone or tablet brings. Therefore, mobile giving is becoming more widely used before, during and after special events to help increase the profile of the organization, drive up bids and cultivate excitement to ensure guests are inspired to give more.
Smart fundraisers make sure to deliver creative and compelling stories that include eye-catching images and videos along with an invitation to help spread the word across social networks, providing a steady stream of new outreach. Many of today’s donors enjoy sharing their charitable activities across social media.
Pay attention to your donors’ digital habits as you tap into technology to gather new insights, and better efficiencies, like streamlined reports. You’ll be able to spend more time on creative fundraising strategy. Properly employed technology can empower a development team more closely align with determined goals.
To learn more about donor segmentation, view this helpful guide from Gesture here.
Jim Alvarez is the founder and CEO of full-service fundraising technology company Gesture By Community Brands. Gesture has helped nonprofits across the country raise over $500 million since 2011 through the use of technology. Alvarez is the recipient of the Chicago Innovation Award and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award for his innovative idea and launch of Gesture. He is an avid speaker and author helping nonprofits to embrace mobile fundraising technology to increase fundraising efforts. Alvarez drives the growing company to make hope happen for nonprofits developing innovative ideas that embrace technology.