Boomer life transitions and fundraising

Boomers are quickly replacing their elders as the fundraising target audience. For every older donor who “permanently lapses” (if you catch my drift), more than one Boomer turns 50, 55, 60, 65 — the ages where people ripen into true donors, the gold-standard supporters who make nonprofit work possible.

A recent post at Engage:Boomers points out an important fact about these Boomers: They are going through huge and significant life transitions. Read Understanding Life Cycles Will Increase Sales:

From ages 48 to 66, Baby Boomers will experience more life transitions than at any other time in their lives. This means opportunities for brands and marketers to engage Boomers and build their brand promise in Boomers’ hearts and minds.

Here are some of the important life transitions that are transforming the way Boomers think and behave:


  • Empty Nest: Many are entering a very different phase of life as their kids grow up and move out. Money, time get freed up. The noise level of life decreases. Many can now give a few extra moments of thought to your message.
  • Caregiving for elderly parents. This one pulls in the opposite direction. As their kids get more independent, Boomers’ parents become more dependent. The time and money freed by children leaving as sometimes eaten up by the escalating needs of their parents. This can keep them on the same too-busy-to-think treadmill for a number of years.
  • Transfer of Wealth. As Boomers parents die, the largest transfer of wealth in history is falling into their laps. Some Boomers find themselves with inheritances that they may want to use in a philanthropic way.
  • Grandparenting. Boomers are becoming grandparents at an amazing rate. This is a life stage that often promotes re-examining or returning to values from their own childhoods. Charitable giving may be part of that.
  • Retirement. Only the oldest Boomers are at retirement age, and there are some indicators that the average age for retirement is going to be creeping up. Retirement often includes a drop in income, but it also brings a bonus in time to get involved.

Most of these things are going to make Boomers better donors than they have been. All of them should cause us to think differently about this demographic 800-pound gorilla.


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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.