Millennials Engage Digitally, Seniors Engage Fiscally

The rallying cry of nonprofit organizations – especially in human services – calls for attracting a younger donor. Considering the average age of a human services donor is approaching 70, the desire for filling the funnel for long-term sustainability is understandable.

In truth, both young and older generations play a vital role in fundraising strategy. One is instrumental for advocacy, influencing, and volunteering; the other supplies the dollars to support vital programs and growth.

Almost by definition, millennials are more digitally engaged with nonprofits than any other generation. Notably, over half of all millennials receive email from a nonprofit, and 39% have “Liked” at least one nonprofit on Facebook.

Millennials Engage Digitally, Seniors Engage Fiscally

Source: Grizzard’s DonorGraphicsTM Media Usage Study 2016.
Base: US online adults (n=2,539). Pew Research generation definitions are used, with the “Silent” and “Greatest” generations combined into “Seniors.”

Seniors however, have the highest donation rates of any generation. Nearly three-quarters of seniors give to nonprofit organizations, and give more than any other segment (even when excluding large gifts). In fact, the percentage of the general population who give charitably increases with age, as does the amount given.

Millennials Engage Digitally, Seniors Engage Fiscally 1

Source: Grizzard’s DonorGraphicsTM Media Usage Study 2016.
Base: US online adults (n=2,539).

If millennials engage digitally, and seniors engage fiscally, then volunteering just might be the great equalizer between the two polar generations. They have the same rates of volunteering, with a third of each segment giving their time in the past year.

Millennials Engage Digitally, Seniors Engage Fiscally 2

Source: Grizzard’s DonorGraphicsTM Media Usage Study 2016.
Base: US online adults (n=2,539).

Millennials are not donors so much as they are fundraisers. They often care more about issues than organizations, aligning their passions through cause-related missions.

So what’s the key to garnering more millennial support? Tapping into the younger generations’ networks to broadcast their interests through your organization. Activating their passions through your organization triggers the power of their social networks.

But first, polish your major and legacy giving strategies. Millennials and seniors work in concert; different systems with different measurable outcomes. Both are vital to long-term fundraising success.

By: Lori Connolly, vp, research & analytics

By: Lori Connolly