Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Searching for Gen X and Y

Have you been trying to figure out how to get those elusive young people in their 20's and 30's (Gen X and Y) involved in your organization? Join the crowd. Most nonprofits are dominated by folks age 50 and up - as staff, volunteers, board members, and donors.
  • Gen X and Y have been born into a very different world - dominated by the fear of environmental collapse and terrorism, an exploding world of new media, and decreasing faith in institutions. But they also have a strong desire to help others and to raise money for their favorite causes.
  • Members of Gen and Y now constitute more than half of the pool of potential donors - yet they contribute less money, support fewer charities, and are challenging to hold onto. According to a recent study by Edge Research, Gen Y donors averaged gifts of $341 to 3.6 group; members of Gen X gave $796 to 4.2 organizations. By contract, Baby Boomers contributed $901 to 5.2 groups and those born before 1946 gave $1,066 to 6.3 charities.
  • For Gen X and Y, no one manner of giving dominates - 43% used direct mail, 35% a nonprofit website, 13% cellphone donations. In fact, 77% of those surveyed said they learned about helping quake victims in Haiti via their cellphones, and the majority found information on nonprofits primarily through internet sources. Older folks respond primarily to direct mail and print materials - 77% said they gave through the mail in the past two years.
  • Younger donors enjoy giving as part of social events and through volunteering - personal contact with an organization , especially when it involves fun and friends, is still important to them.
  • Gen X and Y give just because they are asked by friends - and this is increasingly happening through social media networks. 36% of those under 30 had forwarded a message from a charity to a friend in the past month, 37% would join an organization's Facebook group, and 29% had posted information about a favorite charity on their person Facebook page.
  • Younger donors are likely to say they will be increasing charitable donations this year - and much less likely to feel that the global recession has affected their giving.
So: in order to retain current donors and reach out to Gen X and Y, your nonprofit is going to have to do it all: Facebook, text messages, enewsletters, volunteer work parties, youth-oriented events and parties, brochures, phone calls. Your challenge is to engage the genuine desire of young people to make a difference in this world, using every new strategy at your fingertips.