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Fundraising by the Generations - New Study

22 March 2010 at 12:20 pm
Staff Reporter
A landmark research study into the charitable giving behaviours and attitudes of Gen Y, Gen X, Boomer and Mature donors calls for a shift in marketing models.

Staff Reporter | 22 March 2010 at 12:20 pm


Fundraising by the Generations - New Study
22 March 2010 at 12:20 pm

A landmark research study into the charitable giving behaviours and attitudes of Gen Y, Gen X, Boomer and Mature donors from Convio, Edge Research and Sea Change Strategies calls for a shift in marketing models to embrace online marketing.

Convio says the results of a first-of-its-kind national research study into the charitable giving behaviours and attitudes across generations will change the way Not for Profits approach the art and science of fundraising.

Convio says the biggest finding is that while direct mail will remain viable, it will not be the dominant channel for soliciting and collecting gifts that it is today. While 77 percent of Matures rely on direct mail as their primary giving channel, only 54 percent of Boomers, 43 percent of Gen X and 26 percent of Gen Y report giving through the channel.

Vinay Bhagat, chief strategy officer for Convio says the majority of Not for Profit marketing spend and tactics today are focused on mature donors, as they remain the mainstay of today’s charitable giving.

He says this research and the decline in donor acquisition rates indicate that the marketing model needs to shift to attract the next generation of donors while supporting continued direct mail success.

The research says Charities need to move away from a solely direct response focus to a multi-channel approach with a heavier emphasis on online marketing, emerging channels such as mobile and social media, and empowering supporters to market and fundraise with and for the organisation. Online marketing programs that have mostly operated as a silo must be integrated with traditional campaigns.

The study surveyed 1,526 donors to NFP organisations in the past 12 months to learn how different generations learn about, engage with and donate to charitable organisations. With Boomers and Gen X consisting of 60 percent of the donor population and taking a more prominent role in supporting charity, the study suggests that peers will play a bigger role in influencing donations, and that technology is driving greater expectations of engagement through multiple channels, including online, face-to-face and mobile.

Boomers and Gen X report a variety of channels such as e-commerce, online giving, event fundraising, tributes, monthly debit programs and even mobile/text donations as viable channels. Gen X and Gen Y are also more likely to participate in third-party/vendor programs where a portion of the proceeds from their consumer purchase goes to charity (programs like the Gap Red Campaign) at 25 percent and 27 percent respectively, compared to 17 percent for Boomers and 12 percent for Matures.

Mark Rovner, principal of Sea Change Strategies says the research indicates that future fundraising will move from a direct mail-focused environment to one that is multi-focal and requires strong collaboration across departments and channels.

He says the next generation is telling us that moments of awareness, persuasion and action may each be happening via different communications channels. In an industry where direct mail has been the workhorse of NFP fundraising, they are facing a future where no one channel is likely to dominate.

Donating goods or items is the number one form of support across generations (Gen Y – 55 percent, Gen X – 67 percent, Boomers – 66 percent, and Matures – 68 percent). Fifty-two (52) percent of all respondents reported making a donation when checking out at a retail store such as a grocery store. While small spontaneous gifts were cross-generational, Matures report that they have well-established commitments to charities, actively budget for their giving, and are reluctant to add new charities to those they support.

For the next generation donors, Boomers and Gen X giving is more spontaneous and based on who asks them to donate. They are more likely to support a charity when friends or family ask versus an appeal directly from the charity.

Pam Loeb, principal for Edge Research who conducted the study says that with changes in technology, the economy, and demographic make-up of donors, organisations are trying to cut through the clutter and make the right investments for their future success.

To download a whitepaper on the study go to:
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