Study: Donors worry less than you do

If you want to be good at fundraising, get into the minds of older people.


Here’s a study that’ll help — and it just might blow you away. It’s from Gallup: Don’t Worry, Be 80: Worry and Stress Decline With Age. Here’s what they found:



… “worry” is a much more common emotion among young and middle-aged Americans than among seniors. Well over a third (37%) of those in their 40s report having experienced worry “a lot of the day yesterday.” This figure drops to about 23% among those in their late 60s and drops further to 15% among those aged 91 and older.

Gallupworry

Most of us would guess that age brings more worry: After all, there’s more to worry about as you grow older: Health issues, limited income, seeing your friends die…. But apparently these things don’t add up to increased worry.


Deeper analysis of the data pretty much rules out lifestyle factors (no children at home, no job, being more religious, being more likely to be female) as explanations for the lack of worrying.


Nope. Older people just worry less. Not because they have less to worry about, but because they think differently. Some combination of wisdom, perspective, and changing brain chemistry gives them a different way of handling the future.


Readers of this blog are overwhelmingly in their 20s to 50s. You’re still a worry-wart.


So wrap your mind around this: Imagine your life being exactly the way it is, but you worry about things materially less. That would be a fundamentally different experience of reality. In some ways, it’s a deeper and harder to bridge gap than the cultural differences we encounter when we travel.


I don’t know what — if anything — lack of worry has to do with charitable giving. But I do know that this one issue signals that older people are different from me. (I’m in my peak worrying years.) It’s an important reminder that you can’t judge fundraising from the way it affects you.


Keep that knowledge in mind, and you’ll automatically be one of the best fundraisers around.


Thanks to The Boomer Blog for the tip.


Comments

2 responses to “Study: Donors worry less than you do”

  1. I think it’s because you realize things just aren’t that important.
    Same reason old guys mix their plaids and stripes and wear funny colored socks with Bermuda shorts.

  2. I think it’s because you realize things just aren’t that important.
    Same reason old guys mix their plaids and stripes and wear funny colored socks with Bermuda shorts.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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