Friday, October 25, 2013

Nurture the Younger Generations Now to Create Sustainability Later

Jeff Brooks recently suggested that nonprofits should focus on building relationships with supporters in their 50's when deciding how to replace aging donors. He makes good points that Gen Y lacks disposable income, and their giving habits aren't yet developed enough to turn them into repeat donors. Sure, but that doesn't mean you should ignore them entirely.

Create a plan that focuses primarily on the Boomer generation, if that's what is best for your organization, but keep in mind that much of the outreach you do targeting Boomers also has potential to connect with both Gen X and Gen Y. In fact, your social media outreach has a better chance of connecting with the younger generations (see infographic below) because they use social media more than their parents.

Online fundraising platforms offer a great way to engage with younger supporters because they can be used to gamify giving (by holding fundraising contests), and they provide a way for those with little disposable income to bring in donations and grow the support base. Gen X and Gen Y know how to use social media. Put the request in front of them, and they'll share your message.

As these generations age, their giving habits will develop. It's worth putting the time in now to help them grow their cause-awareness. Sure, it's an investment, but it's an investment in your organization's future. Being the organization that nurtured their giving habits and moved them up the giving pyramid puts you at the top of their lists at giving time.