3 ways to connect with older donors

There’s a reason the average age of donors is so old.

And it’s not because fundraising is too corny for younger people

It’s because of the way older people are. They are different. Their lives and the way they think and behave are different. (Don’t worry, you’ll be like them eventually!)

This should be behind everything we do in our fundraising, and here’s a great post from the Good Works Blog about what the means for us: The holy trinity of aging well:

Most of us find that, after our 60th birthdays, we have more time and more breathing space. Our kids are raised and gone. We’ve reached our professional peak. We’re more or less set financially — and we don’t have much to prove anymore…. Our focus is on ensuring that we’re becoming the complete, whole-hearted and authentic selves we want to be. We worry less about what we have and more about who we are. We strive less to achieve and more to appreciate. This is the time of life when we finally feel truly comfortable inside our own skin.

If you’re in your twenties or thirties, the above might seem utterly alien and hard to believe. But it’s the fundamental reality we’re working with in fundraising.

Here’s how you connect with that reality:

  1. Make your fundraising about purpose. Older people are into charitable giving because it helps them connect with the purpose of their lives. That’s why your fundraising should focus on what their donations do.
  2. Make your fundraising about belonging.Older people get an enhanced sense of the importance of belonging to something bigger than themselves. Make sure your fundraising emphasizes that aspect of your work — whether the connection is the community you live in, the faith community you belong to, or the family of humanity — whatever it is, it’s important to your donors.
  3. Make your fundraising about love. That’s what they’re thinking about. Acting with love. Remind them that their gift is love!


Comments

2 responses to “3 ways to connect with older donors”

  1. mmppgh Avatar

    A need for purpose and belonging are also used to describe milleaneals, so it seems this approach could work with other generations as well!

  2. mmppgh Avatar

    A need for purpose and belonging are also used to describe milleaneals, so it seems this approach could work with other generations as well!

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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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