Modern Donors are Changing Fundraising

A recent survey of almost 1,500 donors from all generations found that only 9 percent factored direct mail into their decision to support a charity. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported in April that all of the donors surveyed had made a gift to a charity that they hadn’t previously supported. They were asked about how they made their decision to choose a specific charity. A full report was published by Cohort3, a fundraising consulting company.

Unlike people, age 72 and older, who most often respond to direct mail fundraising appeals, modern donors between the ages of 20 to 70 — including Baby Boomers — are more likely to:

  • Research a charity of their choice
  • Compare it to other similar charities
  • Talk to family and friends about charity selections
  • Think that giving is their own idea, not because of marketing

Considering that these donors are more familiar with using personal computers or smart phones than the so-called Silent Generation, they have the tools to research charities on their own. The report showed that younger donors are twice as likely to research a charity on their own before giving compared to people age 72 or older. In addition, the report noted that giving happened when a charity was “top-of-mind” such as after a natural disaster or a news story. People felt good about giving to the charity if it was their idea in response to a specific need they heard about or read about. The goodwill factor is elevated when people see an immediate and tangible benefit to their gift, such as a house being built or a pet getting rescued.

Although development has traditionally been a separate department from public relations and communications, these two vital elements of not-for-profits will be more successful when aligning their goals, say the report’s authors. In the future, more organizations may integrate these departments and their staff to encourage a collaborative strategy. The idea is that development and communications are both under the “brand ambassador” umbrella that keeps the organization top of mind among donors throughout the year.

How would your staff org chart change — and your potential overhead — as a result of integrating development with communications? The possibilities both strategically and financially are intriguing.

Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy

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