Chapter 14 Fundraising Across the Generations: Millennials, Baby Boomers, and More

“If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old.”

—Lord Chesterfield


Today, over half the world’s population is under 30. Wherever you work around the globe, your successful long-term fundraising strategy depends on recognizing that there are generational differences in how people approach their philanthropy. Unfortunately, most nonprofits today are currently fundraising with a “one size fits all” or “cookie-cutter” approach, and not balancing their focus on younger and older donors. To maximize fundraising results, you need to know who your donors are and adjust your strategies accordingly. Your most generous donors today won’t be around forever, so you need to equally focus your efforts on developing relationships with the next generation of contributors.

Effectively fundraising across the generations requires a multi-pronged approach that balances a focus on retaining your older, more generous donors (Baby Boomers and Seniors), while also making a long-term investment in building new kinds of relationships and cultivating younger donors (Gen-Xers and Millennials), who will contribute more as they age into their prime giving years. This balance is the key to long-term sustainability. You don’t want to overvalue younger, newer donors at the expense of your loyal, older donors or vice versa.

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