Obama giving looks like a Boomer giving

Newsflash: President and Mrs. Obama are Boomers. It shows in their giving.

In 2010, the Obamas gave a generous 14% of their income to charity. That amounted to just over $245,000, and it went to 36 charities.

They fit the Boomer pattern of having a rounded, conscious portfolio of organizations that reflect their passions and interests. There’s no doubt also the additional consciousness of public figures who know their giving will be scrutinized. The only unusual thing is their age: Neither of them is yet 50. For most people, the donor impulse doesn’t really start until the mid-fifties are later.

The largest recipient of the Obamas’ giving is the Fisher House Foundation an organization that helps military families (more on Fisher House here.)

There’s also a lot of giving to Haiti earthquake relief, most notably to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

Then there’s giving to local organizations in Chicago and DC, their daughters’ school, a variety of health organizations, and some civil rights organizations. There’s a mix of well-known name-brand charities and smaller organizations.

So how do you get on the donation radar of well-off, generous, charity-conscious Boomer couples like the Obamas?


  • Do something inspiring. Better yet, do something innovative, impactful, and inspiring.
  • Be in their lives.
  • Be in their community.
  • Treat them as active partners in your cause.

You can read more about it here at Charity Navigator. And if you’re really wonky, you can download the Obamas’ 1040 form for 2010 here (PDF).


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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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