THE GENERATIONAL FUNDRAISING CONUNDRUM: WHAT TO DO?
Hot off the presses, the 2017 Summer Study from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative is packed with great information:
- Strong results mid-year suggest a good year overall
- Three-quarters of charitable organizations are on-track to meet year-end fundraising goals (Read the full report here)
Digging deeper, very interesting information about the use of methods for reaching different generations is revealed:
- Three-quarters (76%) reported adapting some fundraising method(s) to reach people of different generations
- Tactics range from 32% creating a “Young Professionals” group to 78% using photos in printed materials
- Small organizations are more likely to be reaching out for volunteers in the younger generation(s)
- By sub-sector, health organizations are most likely to be engaging in numerous approaches to reach different generations
And then, there is one last, very important conclusion:
Response to fundraising methods appears to be driven by the individual, not the generation
The NRC report continues:
“Success in dollars or securing volunteers from any generation in this project is not associated with any one method or set of methods used to reach that age cohort. That is, across all of the various methods, none are clearly preferred to approach donors in any of the generations we examined.”
“In a sense, we know this. Numerous studies show that women age 40 and above are likely to use Facebook, but certainly many do not. So relying on Facebook to reach women is one strategy, but not THE strategy. Similarly, some “mature” donors shop and give through online portals; many much younger donors will not. Utilize a range of tools and where you can, use coding, tags, and other methods to track who responds to each approach.
“Knowing your donors and their communication preferences can be more helpful than selecting one tool to use with one age group.”
So, how well do you know your donors’ preferences?
Consider sending them a short email or paper survey asking how they would like to interact with you. (Be sure to offer options you can fulfill.)
- Would you like to receive our quarterly/monthly newsletters?
- How often would you like to receive information/communications from us? (weekly, monthly, quarterly, once a year)
- Which modes of communication do you prefer? (Email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
- How often and when would you like to receive fundraising appeals from us? (monthly, quarterly, once a year during the end-of-year holidays, I do not wish to receive appeals)
- Include a copy of the Donor Bill of Rights as confirmation of your respect and protection of privacy
Consider sending a donor service quality survey like this one (click here) in Building Donor Loyalty from Adrian Sergeant and Elaine Jay. Of course, these questions are most appropriate for donors who have demonstrated some level of loyalty and consistent interaction.
Here’s a caution, however:
Plan reasonable preference options that you can consistently implement with your donor database and communications systems. Asking for donor preferences and not fulfilling them will certainly damage relationships.
Without a doubt, organizations that tailor interactions to their donors’ preferences and fulfill them:
- Meet donors’ needs
- Increase loyalty
- Build credibility for how well programs are managed and mission is fulfilled (The way you interact with donors builds or erodes credibility for how well you do your work.)
- Raise more money, both short- and long-term!