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Older & Younger Donors and Mail

Did you know that the number of donors in the 18-24 age group is comparable with the number of donors who are 70+? It’s true, but what does it mean?This was a question I was asked at a meeting with a local nonprofit recently. I asked if I could get back to them after I’d had some time to think about it.

What I suggested was not turning a blind eye on younger donors because their value is only going to increase as they age. I was surprised to get the following push back: “But we have to weigh how much we spend on fundraising in the here and now as opposed to speculating on the hope that young people will give more as they age.” And you know what? After thinking about it a little more closely, I agree.

Focusing fundraising efforts on seniors and boomers, for whom the preferred channel for making donations is mail simply makes sense. There is lots of evidence to also support the fact that even the donors who are in the 25-54 age range still prefer making donations via the mail they receive (in spite of liking the convenience of doing things like making donations online).

Think about it though. You have a great opportunity to take the long view with your younger donors and prospects. By long view I mean really trying to build relationships that result in meaningful engagement over time. Or to put it another way, when your millennials are of an age where they’re able to offer their support on a regular basis, will you have cultivated their interest in your mission to the point that they feel they are integral to your success?

I believe that’s what is known as relationship building.

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