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Effective Fundraising Techniques for Reaching Baby Boomer Donors

fundraising marketing and communications relationship building Dec 18, 2020

Different fundraising techniques are successful at reaching different generational donor cohorts. Figuring out which fundraising techniques will be successful with different generational groups is part of the challenge of reaching varying groups of donors. The good news is that generational cohort information is available at no cost through the census bureau and The Center for Generational Kinetics. Information from there can be applied to create effective fundraising techniques that result in development of successful fundraising campaigns. Last week, we talked about implementing fundraising techniques that appeal to Greatest Generation donors. Today, we explore specific fundraising techniques that best reach Baby Boomer donors.

Baby Boomer Donor Cohort Characteristics

Baby Boomers were born 1946-1964. Their parents fought in World War I, World War II and/or the Korean Conflict. They themselves fought in the Vietnam War, Gulf Wars and wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Baby Boomers were shaped by a world rife with violent conflict. They yearn for communal peace and parity. That longing was made stronger by the intense strife here at home during the Civil Rights Movement and grassroots efforts to end the Vietnam War. Watergate added to the distrust in government authorities, further eroding confidence in the political establishment. The Baby Boomers’ quest is a quest for societal justice, human equity and social harmony.

And they know how to get it. Baby Boomers banded together, demanded civil rights legislation and got it. They also brought an end to the Vietnam War. Baby Boomers believe in the power of community activism to change the world. They also believe in the power of young people to make those changes.

According to the Charitable Giving in the USA 2019, 52 percent of Baby Boomers donate and 25.7 percent volunteer. Baby Boomers represent 23.6 percent of the population and 25 percent of workforce. However, Baby Boomer donors contribute a whopping 43 percent of all charitable giving. According to “The Next Generation of American Giving: The Charitable Habits of Generation Z, X, Baby Boomers and Matures” by the Blackbaud Institute, Baby Boomer donors are top supporters of first responder organizations, human rights, religious and spiritual causes. Fifty eight percent of Baby Boomer donors will attend or participate in a fundraising event. Forty-nine percent of Baby Boomer donors give through a monthly giving program. Forty-six percent give through workplace initiatives. Twenty-one percent give through Facebook.

Baby Boomer donors give an annual average of $1,212 to an average of 4.5 organizations. They answer voice calls, email, text messaging and direct mail. Comfortable with technology, 24 percent of Baby Boomer donors were promoted to online giving because of a direct mail appeal. Boomers are also active on social media.

Developing Effective Fundraising Campaigns Aimed to Reach Baby Boomer Donors

Baby Boomer donors, like Greatest Generation donors, respond to direct mail and phone fundraising campaigns. Unlike Greatest Generation donors, Baby Boomer donors will also respond to email campaigns, text messages and social media campaigns, primarily through Facebook. This means you have a lot of flexibility in designing and implementing your donor communication vehicles. Baby Boomer donors will read newsletters, view videos and donate online. Tapping into their yearning for community betterment and promotion of social good, Baby Boomers will also like, follow or promote nonprofits and their causes. By employing a wide variety of communication vehicles, you will package your donor messages so they seem fresh each time they are delivered.

Whereas strong self-sufficiency messages will resonate best Greatest Generation donors, strong messages pertaining to increasing the community good though activism will resonate best with Baby Boomers donors. Appeal to their sense of social equity and social justice in your fundraising campaigns. Talk to Baby Boomer donors in language that underlines how they are being active in communal efforts toward improvement of the human condition.

And don’t just ask for money. Ask Baby Boomer donors to participate in your agency’s advocacy efforts. Advocacy feeds into Baby Boomers’ sense of contributing as a member of a group to a cause that will increase social good. Use the Baby Boomers’ willingness to like, follow and promote your cause.

Then use your increased number of followers to increase your corporate funding. As we talked about in the blog Building Donor Relationships: Corporations, businesses are looking for visibility and exposure. The more likes and followers you have on social media, the easier it is to show that partnering with your organization will, in fact, result in greater exposure and visibility through social media.

Baby Boomers represent 25 percent of the US workforce. And Baby Boomers are interested in social good. To appeal attract and retain them, corporations today heavily engage in social responsibility initiatives. Corporations offer many workforce giving programs including employee matching gifts, employee volunteerism and management of employee donor advised funds. Forty-six percent of Baby Boomer donors give through workplace initiatives.

Like Greatest Generation donors, you are likely to see about $250 total annual gifts from Baby donors. Although not as many as Greatest Generation donors, Baby Boomer donors also give to multiple nonprofits. Like Greatest Generation messages, Baby Boomer donor messages focusing on collaboration between community nonprofits will be of great appeal. 

In Conclusion

To effectively reach Baby Boomer donors:

  • Direct mail, phone calls, email campaigns, text messaging and social media campaigns work.
  • Vary the communication vehicles you use.
  • Make your messages about social equity, social justice and improving the human condition.
  • Make donating to your cause an action that is part of a larger group effort.
  • Ask for participation in advocacy efforts, not only money.
  • Tap into workplace giving initiatives.
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