What donors want from life — it’s likely not what you want

Here’s another way young people and older people are different.

The Engage:Boomers blog describes a recent study at Excitement Or Peacefulness?.

The study looked at 2,600 person blogs for the ways people described what made them happy. There was a meaningful difference between younger and older bloggers:


  • People in their 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s tended to equate happiness with excitement. As in “I’m so excited, I’m starting a new job” or “I had such a great weekend, I went to the wildest party with a rockin’ DJ.”
  • People in their 50’s and beyond equated happiness with peacefulness. As in “I had such a great weekend, my wife and I had the house to ourselves, just the two of us for two straight days.”

This is a profound difference. And I think one of the most common ways this difference trips us up is this: Young fundraisers trying to create a feeling of excitement — which is not what the older donor actually wants.

You’ll see it this way:


  • Excessively vibrant and youthful looking design.
  • Advertising-style hype.
  • Constantly changing messaging.

The young fundraisers are not only wrongly assuming that “excitement” will be a good way to motivate their older donors to give. They’re also seeking more excitement for themselves by jazzing up and frequently changing their fundraising.

Big (and very common) mistake.

Remember who your donors are. And remember the ways they are different from you.


Comments

4 responses to “What donors want from life — it’s likely not what you want”

  1. unless, of course, your target is the young donor!

  2. unless, of course, your target is the young donor!

  3. Wow! Thanks for bringing our attention to generational differences. I have spent much time thinking about this lately – considering the impact of generational differences on design preferences, online reading habits, etc. How do we effectively fundraise and communicate across these differences? Thanks for keeping us thinking!

  4. Wow! Thanks for bringing our attention to generational differences. I have spent much time thinking about this lately – considering the impact of generational differences on design preferences, online reading habits, etc. How do we effectively fundraise and communicate across these differences? Thanks for keeping us thinking!

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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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