Nonprofits are frequently told to diversify their revenue by seeking additional funding streams. However, you can also make your fundraising more sustainable by diving deeply into your funding streams and strategically targeting different segments of your nonprofit’s supporter base.
There are various ways nonprofits can group their supporters, such as by location, giving history, and interests. However, age is an often-overlooked donor characteristic, especially if they’re younger.
In this guide, we’ll explain why nonprofits must promote generosity to younger generations. Then, we’ll dive into three ways you can do that at your nonprofit. With these tips, you’ll be well prepared to engage younger supporters. With their help, you’ll make a bigger impact on your nonprofit’s mission and beneficiaries.
Why Promote Generosity to Younger Generations?
Right now, the average donor in the United States is 64 years old, making them a member of the Baby Boomer generation. This generation represents 51 million donors, with an average gift of $1,212 and loyalty to five charities each. The Silent Generation also represents a large generosity pool, accounting for 27 million donors and giving $1,367 annually on average.
There’s no doubt that Baby Boomers and the members of the Silent Generation are extremely charitable and valuable donor demographics to target. However, as these donors grow old, they’re projected to pass down $84.4 trillion in assets in one of history’s most significant wealth transfers. As the people of the Silent Generation are above the age of 78 and Baby Boomers are anywhere between 59-77, and Gen X members are between 43-58, it’s more important now than ever to form strong relationships with the individuals who will succeed them—Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha.
The best part is that members of these generations have a vested interest in social good. For example, 84% of Millennials give to charity, and 23% want to be known for philanthropy. In addition, in a survey, the British Heart Foundation found that 94% of Gen Z would consider volunteering at nonprofits. This indicates that younger generations are receptive to supporting organizations like yours.
3 Ways to Encourage Generosity Among Younger Generations
By actively promoting generosity and engagement with nonprofits to Millennials and members of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, you’ll build sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships with them early on. Then, once they’re ready to give, you’ll be at the top of their list.
Here are three ways you can encourage younger generations to connect with your nonprofit and make gifts:
1. Introduce Gen Alpha to giving through fun events.
Gen Alpha is a particularly tricky age group to form relationships with, given that the oldest are teenagers. Born between 2010 and 2025, most members of Gen Alpha currently rely on their parents for financial support and do not earn any money of their own. This makes asking them to give difficult.
Instead of requesting donations, aim to raise awareness of your nonprofit and the benefits of charitable behavior. The best way to do this is by hosting fun, family-friendly fundraising events. Funds2Orgs recommends these fundraising ideas for kids:
- Shoe drive fundraiser
- Scavenger hunt
- Popcorn fundraisers
- Trivia night
- Bake sale
- Talent show
- Movie night
- Field day
These fundraising events are particularly effective if your nonprofit already works with children, such as if you’re a school or education-focused organization. However, even if you don’t naturally work with members of Gen Alpha, that shouldn’t stop you from including them in your fundraising events.
Ensure that your event generates revenue alongside educating members of Gen Alpha by requesting donations or selling tickets to their parents. Or partner with local businesses to secure event sponsorship funds.
2. Promote giving through Millennials’ preferred communication channels.
When requesting donations from younger generations, strategically promote giving through Millennials’ preferred communication channels. They are the oldest of the three younger generations and are generally more financially secure, meaning they have a greater giving capability.
According to Meyer Partners, some of the top marketing channels are:
- Email. 79% of Millennial consumers prefer to be contacted by brands through email, a preference that extends to nonprofit communications. Encourage them to subscribe to your email newsletter and send them donation appeals, campaign updates, and stories about beneficiaries to keep them engaged with your nonprofit.
- Text message outreach. Phone calls weren’t among the top four ways Millennials prefer to be contacted, but text messages were. And no wonder, given that Millennials spend almost four hours a day on their phones. Simply send texts to your supporters reminding them about your ongoing fundraising campaign and encouraging them to make a gift.
- Social media. While social media is more popular amongst Gen Z and Gen Alpha members, it still has a place in the communication landscape of Millennials. Leverage this trend by posting visually appealing content on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Include links to your donation page to make giving more convenient for viewers.
Although you should focus on promoting giving to Millennials, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to reach out to members of Gen Z and Gen Alpha as well. However, in their case, your focus should be on raising awareness of your nonprofit and its mission rather than explicitly asking for donations due to their ages.
If you’re looking for an engaging way to do this, consider creating viral campaigns. A great example is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, where participants spread the word about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by dumping ice water over their heads.
3. Offer meaningful volunteer opportunities for Gen Z.
We mentioned earlier that most Gen Z are open to volunteering at nonprofit organizations. Leverage their interest by offering them meaningful volunteer opportunities. These can include:
- Setting up seasonal fundraising events
- Designing graphics for your marketing materials
- Canvassing local neighborhoods to spread awareness of your mission
Additionally, provide volunteer opportunities unique to your nonprofit and bring supporters directly in contact with your beneficiaries. For example, if your organization is dedicated to helping struggling elders, you could ask volunteers to play games and chat with the seniors. Or, if you’re an environmental-focused nonprofit, request that volunteers help with community clean-up events.
Through such activities, volunteers will gain more knowledge and awareness of the issues your nonprofit is seeking to address, which in turn may lead them to be more generous with your organization.
Remember to steward relationships by sending volunteer appreciation messages, inviting them to future volunteer opportunities, and encouraging them to attend your fundraising events. This is especially important for your Gen Z volunteers, as you’ll form a strong foundation for a long-lasting relationship. As they age and grow into successful young professionals, they’ll reflect on your connection and be more likely to extend their generosity.
When specifically trying to encourage generosity among younger generations, a nonprofit constituent relationship management solution (CRM) is one of the best tools you can invest in. With it, you can store critical supporter data in a robust database, including their ages and other demographic data. With the right solution, you can strategically personalize and target your messaging to ensure that you create strong relationships with younger prospects.