The changing of the guard is as old as time. It can be a bumpy road if you don’t plan for it. The older donor generations can feel pushed out of the very causes they helped launch. Meanwhile, the younger generations cry out for change and inclusion. ...

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How to Inspire Donors Across Generations

The changing of the guard is as old as time. It can be a bumpy road if you don’t plan for it. The older donor generations can feel pushed out of the very causes they helped launch. Meanwhile, the younger generations cry out for change and inclusion. How do you reach across the generations and bring everyone to the table?

Compare the four primary generations of donors—Mature, Boomer, Gen X, Millennial—and you’ll see there’s more that unites us than divides us. Research scientist Jennifer Deal observed similarities in her book, Retiring the Generation Gap: How Employees Young and Old Can Find Common Ground. She found that all generations:

  • Value family, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness.
  • Want respect.
  • Believe leaders must be trustworthy.
  • Like to receive feedback.
  • Don’t like change.
  • Base loyalty on context, not age.
  • Want to learn and better ourselves.

In “How to Engage Multiple Generations of Donors,” we explore additional generational insights on giving activity, volunteer rates, tech use, and communication preferences. Incorporate these findings into your donor engagement to create lasting relationships.

Generational Communication Tips


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Bridging the Donor Generation Gap Infographic

Bridging the donor generation gap is a struggle every nonprofit faces. One of the constants of nonprofit work is the need to cultivate the next generation of donors and activists. At the same time, you don’t want to ignore donors who have been loyal, longtime supporters. Successfully engaging multiple generations ensures the future of your organization.

Why the Donor Generation Gap Matters

One of the largest wealth transfers in history is beginning to take place. Over the next 30 to 40 years, an estimated $30 trillion in financial and nonfinancial assets will pass between generations in North America alone. As Baby Boomers and the Mature Generation prepare to pass their wealth to their children and grandchildren, more than money is being taken into consideration.

Benefits of cross-generation donor engagement:

  • Involving Gen X and Millennial donors today ensures the future of your organization.
  • Cultivating Mature and Boomer donors (who represent the majority of today’s giving) provides stability for your organization.
  • Diversity of opinions and perspectives keeps your organization relevant.
  • New ideas and approaches energize your base.
  • Institutional/historical knowledge...

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4 Messaging Strategies to Turn Advocates Into Donors

Every nonprofit fundraiser has a dual objective—cultivate existing donors and grow your base by prospecting and acquiring new donors. One area to focus on is activating your organization’s advocates or non-donor groups (volunteers, program participants and their families, community partners, etc) to donate. Not only are these people familiar with your nonprofit—they’re passionate about it. They want to engage with you. The best thing you can do is make it easy for them to experience more regular contact and more personal attention.

Performing dedicated outreach to these loyal friends, even if they don’t meet your traditional criteria for donor prospects, can turn casual advocates into passionate donors. Their eagerness to take that next step in support of your cause may surprise you.

Build Donor Relationships

Loyalty deepens the more involved an individual becomes. Look to your volunteers and program participants to learn more about them and grow your relationship. How long have they been with you? What first attracted them to your organization? Why do they continue to support you? Tracking their involvement in your donor management system provides insight about their...

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3 Ways to Engage Younger Donors

How can we get younger people to donate to our organization? What’s the silver bullet to getting more younger donors? This is a common issue that many nonprofits encounter regardless of how long they have been around or how big their donor base is.  Well, as we all know, there really isn’t a silver bullet that helps us solve major fundraising challenges, but there is one thing you can do to start laying a foundation to welcome and nurture younger donors.

As part of our quarterly kick-off, the Network for Good team had a challenge from our Chief Technology Officer: You have a day to put together a plan to help a customer improve their digital marketing and fundraising strategy. And that’s exactly what we did! We took a day away from our typical 9-5, split into teams, and worked on solutions to help customers address some of their big challenges. The following are three suggestions we shared with The Family Place, located in Washington, D.C., to help them engage donors.

The Family Place offers a variety of services and support to immigrant families settling in the D.C. area. We started the morning with a phone call getting to know the organization and the priorities they had...

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9 Tips to Write a Winning Nonprofit Message

Every nonprofit has multiple messages to tell, from your mission and organizational history to the story of the community you serve. You share your story every day—with donors, volunteers, staff, foundations, community partners, journalists. Think of the stories that keep people coming back time and again. They all have key elements in common. Here are 9 tips for writing a winning nonprofit message:

Keep it conversational.

Even a written story should be in your voice and have a specific person in mind. Who are you telling your story to?

Give everything purpose.

If something isn’t necessary, don’t include it. Streamlining your story will build tension and keep your audience wondering what’s going to happen next.

Make it relatable.

Tell a story your audience can see themselves in. What universal truth or need are you tapping into?

Make it specific.

Include details and descriptions that add to the tangibility of your story.

Make it authentic.

There’s no need to embellish your story. The truth is a powerful tool.

Make it memorable and sharable.

Create a story that is unique, catchy, personal, tangible, desirable, and closely tied to your cause. Give your...

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