As nonprofit leaders look at their budgets these days, it’s tempting to focus on the short term. All too often, they see that the core of their organization’s funding remains more or less the same group of people—some of whom are in danger of donor burnout. Sometimes panic mode sets in, and they push those same donors harder, or try to get a shot in the arm by approaching some of those donors’ (generally older) peers.
Leaders who take the long view look down the road, at the next generation or two of donors. Right now, Baby Boomers make up 34% of the donor base and 43% of dollars given—the biggest generation in both categories. But as Jessica notes in her excellent book, the oldest boomers are just hitting 70, and Gen X is coming into its prime financially, so that won’t remain the case forever.
More importantly, Generations X and Y represent a largely untapped resource for most nonprofits:
- Between them, they already represent 31% of annual giving despite their relatively young ages (and by extension income levels).
- 60% of each generation gives, for a total of 74 million annual donors (24 million more than the Boomers, 70% of whom give).
- Their average annual gifts are already remarkably high, at $732 for Gen X and $481 for Gen Y (the Boomer’s annual average gift is just over $1,200).
Numbers above and below from Blackbaud’s report on the next generation of American giving
If you’re doing the math in your head, these generations represent a mammoth source of potential revenue for nonprofits even now, let alone in the future. But if you’re a typical nonprofit leader, they represent only a tiny fraction of your donor base, and you don’t spend much time even trying to get them to give.
So how does one court a donor from these generations?