Getting Younger Donors to Say "Yes" to Your Nonprofit


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  • Good afternoon, my name is Eve Smith and I’m delighted to be with you today.I am an online fundraising and digital strategy consultant, and most recently was the Director of Interactive Marketing for Easter Seals. Many of you may know Easter Seals, which is an international disability services charity that has been around for over 90 years. Over the past several years, I have been working with nonprofit organizations to build their online programs to attract more constituents and convert more of them into donors.I was asked to speak with you today about Getting Younger Donors to Say Yes to Your Organization. I’m excited to share with you some recent research about younger donors, and ways to engage them, and to hear from you about what’s working and what isn’t in your own efforts to expand your donor base.We’ll be covering today…. (read bullet points on next slide)
  • What I’m going to share with you today are some results from a report about The Next Generation of American Giving published by Convio, Edge Research and Sea Change Strategies. They conducted a study in two phases with focus groups and an online survey of over 1,500 US donors in early 2010.
  • What they found is that the art and science of fundraising, as we know it, is undergoing rapid and permanent change driven by technology, the imperative to attract new donors, and by the evolving traits of different generations of supporters.As part of the study, the researchers queried donors about their giving habits. They wanted to learn more about how and why people gave – which channels and methods were atttractive and responsive.They organized the responses in FOUR generational groupings, which offer fundraisers insights on acquiring and cultivating the next generation of donors.NEXT SLIDE
  • Let’s start by defining the different generations in the report….There are four categories – matures, boomers, genx and geny, which some now call millennials.Matures are born in 1945 or earlier. They make up 39m in the US population. Estimated that 79% of them give to charities.Boomers are born between 1946-1964. Make up 78m in US population. Estimated 67% of them give to charities.Gen X is….Gen Y is…
  • For most nonprofits, the majority of their giving is from matures, primarily through direct mail.This is followed by Boomers, and then younger generations of the GenXers and GenY.For the most part, nonprofits do well by engaging Matures, with robust giving programs that raise majority of fundraising revenue.So you may ask…
  • For one, the Mature segment is shrinking, more organizations are looking for ways to attract younger donors.The longer we can engage and cultivate donors, the stronger connection with your organization and potential for lifetime giving.Before we focus on younger donors, I wanted to share with you more insights from the study about different giving habits and preferred communication methods of the different generations.NEXT SLIDE
  • Before you start thinking about a fundraising program to attract 25 year olds, take some time to consider how your organization defines a younger donor. For some groups, it may be someone who is 70 years old. For others, it could be someone 35 or younger.For Easter Seals, the average age of a direct mail donor was 72yrs and average age of online donor was 55yrs. When we started thinking about reaching “younger donors” we began focussing on individuals in the 35-55 year old range, who had income and the capacity to donate. I think for a lot of groups this is what trips them up – and they may be missing a huge opportunity by not understanding who they want to reach.Let’s take a closer look at some of the characteristics of the different groupings.ASK THEM WHO THEY CONSIDER A YOUNGER DONOR
  • The report breaks out each segment with these types of insights and snapshots regarding donors’ values and technology profiles.For example, with Matures, they are the most loyal donors and give the largest annual contributions. But they are the smallest cohort and shrinking.They are online, and many prefer email newsletters.
  • Boomers give more thought to their giving and want to know more details about operational aspects of giving, such as percentage that goes to overhead and administrative costs. They are the largest cohort and are engaged in using new media. They are established in their careers and 2 in 10 are retired.
  • A key insight about GenXers is that they are motivated to give when asked by peers and usually some type of personal connection is involved in their giving.They are building their careers and families and have less time to research charities than older generations.They are engaged on social media and to a lesser degree mobile.
  • Gen Y donors are just starting their careers and families, and they may have more time to give than money. They are philanthropically minded, and eager to know their giving will make a difference, but they want to know what’s in it for me.They’re heavily engaged in social media and mobile.These are just some of the insights from the report, and I encourage you to download a copy so you can review in greater detail about the giving habits of the different groupings. It’s really fascinating and intriguing.I wanted to spend a little time on two other slides from the report aboout what channels donors prefer and then I’ll share some examples for how we engaged younger donors at Easter Seals, and few other examples from the field.
  • This slide illustrates self reporting from donors as to how they gave in the last two years. You’ll see the giving channel on the left hand side, and the breakout by group on the right.What I found interesting about this was how many report giving at the checkout – which makes sense. Think about your last trip to the grocery store, or CVS and when you were asked by the cashier to make a donation with your purchase.The other factor that jumped out to me was how many give by mail – and it’s a strong representation across the generations.Website was not as strong as I had thought, and I was surprised, and frankly a bit relieved to see that Mobile was such a small percentage.
  • I really liked seeing that peer to peer was such a strong solicitation channel as I’ve seen that technique just bloosom in recent years as a fundraising technique. And, it’s strong across generations. Mail is also very strong, which may be a surprise, and then email.Social media and mobile, and phone less preferred.
  • We requested email addresses on direct mail response devices and provided a dedicated online donation form if donors wanted to give online instead of writing a check. We found that many did like the convenience of giving online, and many were first time online donors. But about 75% of them opted out of receiving future email messages. So, while it was helpful for the overall giving program, it was not a technique that helped me increase the house email file.These are the types of compromises you may have to consider, and evaluate, as you think about engaging across channels and with different generations.
  • At Easter Seals, we also offered personal fundraising Web pages that individuals could create and raise funds on behalf of the organization. This was a very effective way to engage different types of donors, and different age groups, who wanted to tell their story and ask friends to donate.This is an example of a page by a young women named Amy Liss. Amy is a staff member and client at Easter Seals Dupage and the Fox Valley Region. She created her page to share her story and how Easter Seals has made a different in her life, and to encourage her network of friends and family to make a gift. In two years, she has raised nearly $23,000, which is just incredible.This taps into several of the findings that we saw in the report – the power of peer to peer fundraising, explaining how a donation makes an impact in someone’s life, online technology. Donors say that being asked to give by someone they know is the biggest influence in their decision to give.There are Web sites like, as well as Facebook Causes that provide these types of personal fundraising options that your organization may want to explore.
  • At Easter Seals, we wanted to stay in tune with what works for the younger donors we were targeting…
  • Autism speaks – why I walk for autism speaks – nice video of parents (genx to boomers) explaining their commitment to AS and why they fundraise and walk. Notice their mention of the 100 days toolkit and parents’ guide which helped them in their time of need, and in turn, they wanted to give back.
  • I don’t know if you saw the article in the August 2011 edition of Fundraising Success Magazine “Juggling and the Fine Art of Fundraising”It reported on results from some integrated campaigns. One of those featured in the article is The Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign.They added a Virtual Kettle Campaign just a few years ago to complement the street kettles and overall fundraising efforts.ResultsThe online kettle campaigns were personal fundraising Web pages by individuals and teams. Online fundraising for the Red Kettle campaign brought in $13.7 million, and increase of 19 percent over 2009.In all, $142 million was raised during the 2010 Red Kettle campaign, more than a 2 percent increase over 2009's previous record of $139 million. Most of that came through the physical red kettles outside of corporate partners' storefronts. Red kettles located at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations raised $42 million combined ($37 million and $5 million, respectively), 30 percent of 2010's total. The Wal-Mart Foundation also made a $1 million direct donation to the Salvation Army.The Off the Field event raised a donation of $100,000. Kroger food chains hosted red kettles at nearly 2,000 stores, raising $11.8 million, and donations at more than 800 Big Lots stores raised $1.3 million. J.C. Penney helped raise more than $3 million in red kettle donations across its stores, and nearly 70,000 children and seniors were adopted in time for Christmas via the Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree, a 40 percent increase from the inaugural 2009 implementation.Finally, online fundraising for the Red Kettle campaign increased 19 percent over 2009, bringing in $13.7 million. The numbers speak for themselves. The Red Kettle campaign set yet another fundraising record in its 120th year.
  • They also utilized an iPhone app that was created by Charity Dynamics that provides mobile access to manage your virtual kettle on your iphone.This app has been having terrific success in helping nonprofits who host walk/run events raise millions of dollars.
  • To Recap, I encourage you to download the Convio study and set aside some time to think strategically about who you want to reach – define who your organization considers a “younger donor”Also, check out the new 2011 Millennial Donor Study. It came out this past June – some interesting insights.And my contact information and LinkedIn profile address.
  • Getting Younger Donors to Say "Yes" to Your Nonprofit

    1. 1. Getting Younger Donors to Say “Yes” to Your Nonprofit<br />Women in Development North<br />September 13, 2011<br />Presented by Eve Smith<br /><br /><br />
    2. 2. Today’s Topic<br />Reaching younger donors – why is it important?<br />Who is a “younger donor?”<br />What are effective ways to engage them – mail, email, Web, mobile?<br />What are tactics your organization can consider to improve response?<br />Q&A<br />2<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    3. 3.<br />3<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />Presentation slides reprinted with permission from Convio<br />
    4. 4. 4<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    5. 5. Matures Boomers GenXGenY<br />5<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    6. 6. 6<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    7. 7. Why engage with younger donors?<br /> Older donors give higher average gifts.<br /> Older donors give more annually.<br /> But…Matures segment is shrinking.<br /> And… Gen X and Gen Y now make up a larger portion of the population than people 65 and older.<br />7<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    8. 8. Who is your “younger donor?”<br />8<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    9. 9. 9<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    10. 10. 10<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    11. 11. 11<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    12. 12. 12<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    13. 13. 13<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    14. 14. 14<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    15. 15. Easter Seals’ Report Insights<br />Continue implementing cross-channel tactics to lift response<br />Define who we mean by “younger donor”<br />Look for opportunities to expand outreach using social media and mobile<br />15<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    16. 16. 16<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    17. 17. 17<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    18. 18. 18<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    19. 19. Personal Fundraising Web Pages<br />19<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    20. 20. 20<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    21. 21. Other examples<br />21<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    22. 22. 22<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    23. 23. 23<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    24. 24.<br />24<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />
    25. 25. Resources<br />The Next Generation of American Giving<br />2011 Millennial Donor Study<br /><br />Eve<br /><br />25<br />Eve Smith / Women in Development North<br />