How many people are likely to give — now and in the future

Here is one of the most important charts you can look at. It’s at the newly launched
Fundraising Growth Now!
by my colleague at TrueSense Marketing, Jon Van Wyk.
Agegraph
What this chart shows is the number of people in the US between the ages of 55 and 85, divided into generation groups. This matters to us, because that’s the age of the overwhelming majority of donors to charitable causes.

It’s based on US population (Census figures). The total number of people in the group is 72 million today, and it rises to 120 million in 2050. These are US numbers, but the general shape is close to what you’d see throughout the developed world.

Draw a vertical line along any year and you can see which generations are (or will be) in the prime donor demographic at that time.


  • This year, 2010, the Boomers (born 1946 through 1964) have edged out the Silent Generation (born 1925 through 1945).
  • For the next 10 years, the donor-aged population will be split between Silents and Boomers, with Boomers increasing every year, and peaking in 2019 at 71.7 million, or 79%.
  • In 2020, Generation X (born 1965 through 1979) starts to appear in the donor age group. At this point, both the Silent and Boomer groups are decreasing, while the GenX group grows. GenX doesn’t overtake the Boomers in size until 2033.
  • When Boomers leave the stage in 2050, Gen X is waning and Gen Y (born 1980 through 2000) is dominant.

Remember, these are not necessarily donors, but the part population most likely to donate, based on their age. Your mix of donors is probably different from this — most likely tilting much older than what we see on this chart.

Some learnings


  • We have just entered the era of Boomer dominance of the giving demographic — an era that will last until 2033. If you haven’t figured out Boomer fundraising, you’d better get it quick.
  • Generation X is coming, but they’re ten years away, and won’t dominate until 2033. It’s probably early to start panicking about what their presence will mean, but sooner or later you need to start thinking about it.
  • Generation Y doesn’t show up until 2035 and won’t Dominate until almost everyone reading this is retired.

More at Demographic Shift to Impact Fundraising.


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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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About the blogger

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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