Younger Donors Are Changing the Face of Fundraising

Direct-mail fundraising appeals are much less effective with younger donors, notes a recent article from The Chronicle of Philanthropy (May 2018 edition). While “silent generation” donors, those 72 and older, traditionally respond well to appeals for donations, all the generations that follow them, including baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials, are less amenable to direct fundraising campaign efforts.

The findings stem from a survey commissioned by Cohort3, a fundraising consulting company, which surveyed 1,480 donors who had made a gift within the last year to a nonprofit they had never supported before. Only 9 percent of donors under 72 said that materials from the organization – via postal mail or email – prompted their gift. These younger givers, and millennials in particular, are much more likely to control the process by researching issues and ministry opportunities that they are interested in, as well as more likely to learn from family, friends, and other channels of communication.

These statistics echo those from ECFA’s 2017 Generosity Project, which found that millennial givers are inquisitive and proactive when it comes to giving. They are highly likely to research an organization by reviewing the organization’s website (96%), reviewing third-party websites such as ECFA (73%), and by asking people they know (87%). Additionally, givers overall in the ECFA study said they pay significantly less attention to postal mail or emails from an organization than they do to communications that come through their church or network of friends.

To download the Generosity Project findings, click here.

This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.


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