There is a massive transfer of wealth happening in our society right now. An estimated $59 trillion will shift from Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation to Generation X and Millennials. These younger generations are expected to be the most giving philanthropists in history.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. According to “The Next Generation of Giving Report” from Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact, Gen Xers (born 1968-1980) still haven’t reached their prime giving years. Millennials (born 1981-1997) are estimated to be 25-30 years away.
While donor communications and engagement should be customized as much as possible for the individual, it’s important to understand larger generational trends related to how and why people engage and donate to nonprofits. Here are three tips to help you maximize giving across generations.
1) Prioritize Baby Boomers
As it stands now, Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) represent 41 percent of all charitable giving and 55 percent of high-wealth donors. Although The Greatest Generation continues to age and give way to younger generations, Boomers are still expected to remain the top donors for another 20 years. In fact, Boomers are the only generation to maintain its giving levels since 2013.
Boomers will eventually pass the torch to Gen Xers. Then it will be Millennials’ turn. But for now, those born between 1946 and 1964 are the top givers. According to research reported in The Nonprofit Times, the median annual donation for Boomers ($478) is slightly more than Gen Xers ($465) but double that of Millennials ($238). 52 percent of Boomers prefer to cut a check, and they’d like to hear from you at least on a quarterly basis.
2) Start Connecting with Millennials Now
Millennials represent 14 percent of all giving, but more than four in five donate over the course of a year. They’re very engaged. They want to be involved with your mission. They like to get their hands dirty. They want a seat at the table. They want their employers to be socially responsible.
Building relationships with Millennials is a critical long-term investment in your nonprofit. Millennials prefer that you communicate with them at least twice per month, so make sure your website, social media pages and communications channels (text, instant message, etc.) meet their expectations.
3) Don’t Sleep on Generation X
Any generational conversation seems to focus on Millennials because they represent the largest portion of the workforce and people enjoy wise cracks about avocado toast. In the nonprofit sector, Boomers are also always part of the discussion because of their giving power.
Generation X seems to get lost in the shuffle, which is a monumental oversight. The Blackbaud report found that more than 20 percent of Gen Xers plan to increase their donations this year and many are making plans about who will get their money when they’re gone.
The research in The Nonprofit Times says Gen Xers want to hear from you at least once a month and nearly two-thirds (62 percent) say passion for a cause is a major motivator to donate. Gen X is the next generation of influential leaders and donors, so don’t pass them over for Millennials.
Your Donor Management Software Can Help You Manage Generational Giving
Donor management software makes it easy to identify donors, volunteers and board members based on their generation. You can create generational tags and run reports to determine how larger trends are reflected within your nonprofit. For example, if your board is made up exclusively of Boomers and the Great Generation, it’s time to start giving Gen Xers and Millennials a seat at the table.
Schedule a demo of Eleo Donor Management Software and learn how Eleo can help you better understand the generational makeup of your nonprofit.