I read some good news this morning. 

A recent research report published in
The NonProfit Times suggests that 55% of Generation Y (1981-91) Canadians give to charity and that on average, they give $325 (I'm assuming this is annually). The total works out to a total of about $800 million in gifts from this group.

Not bad considering this is $800 million from people who have been in the workforce for less than ten years and many of whom are paying off student loans and saving up for their first homes!

The way I look at this, though this Gen Y group still represents the least engaged market segment overall, those donors who fall into the 55% may be more passionate about giving since it's not as prevalent among their peers as in the case with older population segments. These people are choosing to do something that 45% of their peers choose not to do.

The problem is that most donor recognition circles start well above the $325 donor mark. Often, special events are offered to $1,000+ annual donors. A hand-signed letter from the ED or CEO or President is reserved for "leadership gifts" (translate: larger than $325). Lunch dates with the Director of Development are limited to major gift donors. 

Maybe it's time to stop thinking about our top donors in terms of dollar values? 

As
Fraser Green recently tweeted, "if i see one more donor report pic with guys in suits fondling a GIANT CHEQUE i'm gonna hurl - what about gary's $50? doesn't he matter?"

What about taking a look at that Gen Y donor list and reaching out personally to the top 10% - the ones who have made at least 2 gifts in 5 years, the ones that are monthly supporters? It may be early to talk about bequests and legacy gifts, but the special touch from you now is going to make your organization top of mind when the smart Gen Y people are making wills to protect their new families and homes.

I get a personalized, hand-signed thank you letter from 2 of the 10-12 charities my family supports annually. Guess which two are in our estate plans?

 


Mary Cahalane
05/19/2011 17:29

Great points, Christina! Seems all of it comes down to the same thing, doesn't it? Treat people like people, not checkbooks. Show them why *they* matter. And thank them well and personally.

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