Millennials and Generation Z might be the hot demographics of the day, but it’s wise not to discount the “baby boomers” – people between the ages of 49 and 67. It’s especially important to keep boomers in mind if you’re a nonprofit, because this age group gives more money to charity than any others. Whether they’re your parents or grandparents, the boomers have proven themselves to be cause-minded individuals who care deeply about doing good.
Plus, there’s no stopping the giving as they continue to get older – according to a Philanthropy article from 2015, as the baby boomer generation begins to retire over the next 20 years, they’re expected to donate “about $6.6 trillion in cash and $1.4 trillion in volunteer services.”
The article goes on to note a study that found that “baby boomers are 49 percent more likely than their parents’ generation to make an effort to find out how nonprofits use their money before they decide to donate, and 44 percent of them want to direct how their charitable gifts are used, compared with only 15 percent of their parents’ generation.” (Their parents’ generation is referred to as Matures, by the way)
So do you know who are the boomers in your database? The easiest way to get this information is to ask for date of birth on your online donation forms. If that feels too intrusive, then ask on your very next contact with the donor. (Perhaps institute a birthday card system?) With donors you know, you could enter an approximate year of birth. Or you could ask the donor to check off an age range — 30s, 40s, 50s, and so on.
Once you can sort by date of birth, it becomes easy to tailor your communications to donors based on their generation. You can match options for style, medium, giving level, and follow-up. Plus, if you’re using a system like donor and volunteer management software, you’ll find it easier than ever to segment your boomer donors into a smartlist that will allow you to send out perfectly targeted communications.
Given how generous the baby boomer generation is, it’s clear that it’s super important for nonprofits to target them directly rather than lumping them in with Matures, Gen Xers, or Millennials. Make it a priority to refine your pitches for boomers and see if you notice an uptick in donations!