How not to alienate your donors

If you think clearly about fundraising, you realize it’s largely a form of “elder marketing.” But that knowledge can lead you astray if you don’t know your audience. That’s the important point from the Direct Creative Blog at The dos and don’ts of marketing to today’s seniors.

Seniors nowadays have some different approaches to their seniorhood than previous generations. Boomers, especially, are entering old age not thinking of themselves as old:

… when you’re marketing to seniors, the first thing you have to remember is that you don’t call them “seniors.” And that goes double for terms like “old” or “elderly.” In fact, any direct reference to chronological age is a big no-no. People know how old they are.

This is a new thing. Youth culture being carried into old age.

Smart fundraisers speak into the conditions and psychology of their older audience without saying so. What you need to know is this:


  • As we age, the right brain gets more dominant. Stories and emotional appeals become even more important for motivating action.
  • Edgy, cool, modern design that you love is often just puzzling and annoying.
  • Careful with pop-culture references and approaches. People over 60 have a different pop-culture reservoir.
  • Eyesight deteriorates with age. Larger type and clean, clear layouts are necessary.

Do all that. Just don’t mention that you’re doing it because they’re old.


Comments

2 responses to “How not to alienate your donors”

  1. I’m not sure that fundraising reduces only to “elder marketing”. Fundraising can be done among productive, even young people. Maybe with not such a great effect, but if addressed right, many people can support a good cause, no matter what their age.

  2. I’m not sure that fundraising reduces only to “elder marketing”. Fundraising can be done among productive, even young people. Maybe with not such a great effect, but if addressed right, many people can support a good cause, no matter what their age.

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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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