Nonprofits to Focus on Older Donors

Who knew the devastation in Haiti earlier this year moved 6.7 million U.S. consumers to donate to a non-​profit charity for the first time ever? According to a new Heart of the Donor report, 3% of Americans showed their generosity through a variety of channels including houses of worship (32%), online (22%), and texting (19%). And the giving profile for this event included significant percentages of African Americans (51%), Latinos (53%), and Asians (59 %).  This picture of giving does not, however, match what the typical nonprofit is likely to encounter during its fundraising campaigns.

As the pleas for giving increase and the channels available for donating broaden, a nonprofit organization must consider the best way to make its appeal. Heart of the Donor analysts say that consumers in the Baby Boomers generation and older are more likely to give the most money. Lisa McIntyre, Russ Reid Senior Vice President, Strategy Development points out “the 70-​plus donor gives three times as much” as consumers in the 18–24 year old group. But nonprofits must work to encourage younger demographics to get into the habit of giving. The study results show that solicitations by traditional direct mail and e‑mail work equally well for this purpose. Interestingly, social media excels when it connects nonprofits with consumers but it is not the top channel for bringing in the money.

Consumers are also concerned about quality when they decide whether to donate to an organization. Potential donors say they prefer to give to organizations that have ‘top-​quality managers.’ Consumers also believe effectiveness is key for organizations that do charity work.  For purposes of this study, effectiveness was defined as the ability to bring in more money and therefore have a greater impact.

To succeed at their core missions, more nonprofits are likely to heavily target older consumers through both direct mail and e‑mail in the near future but they’ll also be using part of their budgets to begin relationship building with future donors. Improved fund raising strategies are becoming crucial as consumers have been decreasing charitable contributions during the recession.

[Sources: Who Gives, Why do They Give. RussReid​.com. 24 Aug. 2010. Web. 7 Sept. 2010; O’Connell, Jonathan. Nonprofits face drop-​off in giving. WashingtonPost​.com. 23 Aug. 2010. Web. 7 Sept. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.