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    April 7, 2008

    Generation Y Give

    Check out this donor profile:

    -Give to an average of 8 non-profits/charities a year
    -Giving includes health, social activism, environment, veterans’, global and local relief, and religious organizations
    -Average gift: $50

    I bet you are thinking: “Who is this donor and how do I get my clients’/organization’s hands on her?” Trust me you are not the only one. Based on her giving history, this donor ends up on a lot of lists and gets inundated with DM pieces, close to 10 a week.

    Want to know how many organizations this donor has given to in the past 2 years because of their DM pieces? None.

    How do I know? Because I am that donor.

    I am also 26. I also happen to work in direct response marketing. But I also have been giving since I was 16 and could spare a dollar here and there.

    Donors like me, I am told over and over again, don’t really exist, or if we do, we exist in the single digits. We are not really worth focusing on in the big scheme of fundraising. The average non-profit file donor is close to a half century older than me. I am an outlier in the DM fundraising world, so I am repeatedly told.

    But I just don’t believe that’s true. I believe there are many donors like me out there, or at least many donors with my potential for giving. There are even more donors like me out there who may not be able to give financially, but who would gladly give their time. You just have to get our attention (or that of our friends and peers-word spreads fast when you’re always plugged in), give us a reason, tell us a story that's compelling for us, our world, that of our friends and families....

    I believe in younger donors. I believe we want to give and to get engaged with issues we care about. I believe most of us non-profit marketers haven’t yet really truly understood how to reach these younger donors-going beyond the digi-fad of the day to build a relationship with donors whose own relationships are intervowen with technology and constantly shifting attention spans.

    I hope that the thoughts, ideas, and news items I will share on this blog will help further the discussion about the benefits of focusing on this generation as a donor segment for nonprofit organizations, as well as on how to get my generation to open our wallets (or in many of our cases PayPal accounts or Google Wallets), our hearts, and our contact lists.


    Sharlissa said...

    I completely agree with you. I'm about your age, and I also work for and donate to nonprofits. I think there are many potential donors in our demographic, and nonprofits should consider ways to tap into this resource. I think younger donors just need to be told that they can make a difference through a small donation. Personally, I think these donations make a difference beyond their immediate monetary impact. Getting the young generation financially invested in social responsibility and the nonprofit community sows seeds and will reap much larger benefits when we are older.

    Jaclyn said...

    Great first post! I look forward to reading more.

    Miriam Kagan said...

    Thanks for the input sharlissa! Any time you would like to guest blog about why we should and how we can motivate younger donors, I'd be delighted to post your thoughts on this blog!

    Jill Kurtz said...

    Thanks for starting this blog. I am interested in all aspects of communication with Generation Y and am happy to find another person thinking about the same things. My blog, Communication in a Web Saturated World, looks at generations among other topics for effective online communication. I invite you and your readers to visit at I plan a post in the coming week about your blog inviting my readers to do the same.

    Jill Kurtz said...
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    John Lepp said...

    Miriam! This is brilliant stuff. I am happy to have stumbled across your blog... Cheers!