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The Generational Divide in Online Giving

The demographics of nonprofit members are a concerning topic for organizations everywhere. And millennials are (still) all the buzz.

How will we replace our older followers with younger generation followers?

Younger generations require that we incorporate such vastly different fundraising channels and new technologies. (gasp!)

How do we adjust so that our fundraising is not negatively impacted?

Whenever there’s a problem circulating out there on the web, fear not—Internet pundits provide many suggested solutions. The general advice summed up is:

Young means 50, not 29!

Don’t stress about the millennials yet…you’ll only end up with two (or more) vastly different fundraising channels to manage!

Why create more work, cause more stress, and waste resources, when millennials STILL won’t be a reliable primary source of major donations?

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But what if the current giving trends—based off of surveys and reports from real nonprofit data—indicate that the fundraising channels that appeal to millennials might also appeal to the older generations as smart phones become an increasingly dominant part of everyday life? It’s not just millennials who use mobile devices. Sure, they are primarily guilty of getting through the day with phones glued in hand, but it would be a mistake to entirely discount Boomers and Generation Xers in the mobile game.

Take, for example, a 2014 study by Dunham and Company, showing that older donors are now just as likely to give to charities online as younger donors. Nearly 3 out of 5 donors in the 66+ age group make online contributions. And in an age where it’s now nearly impossible to buy a feature phone, it’s not much of a reach to conclude that a respectable number of older individuals may overcome the lack of confidence they once experienced in using the Internet on a desktop. They too can embrace mobile, just as they previously learned to donate online with a PC.

So maybe it’s true that many of the Matures and the tail end of the Boomers may never adjust to mobile as the new communication and fundraising channel. I’m not suggesting you COMPLETELY abandon traditional, tried and true fundraising methods. By all means, continue to send direct mail bi-yearly and host in-person events. Nevertheless, going mobile might not be as much of a lost cause or a risky decision as some make it seem.

Why Mobile?

Tragic things happen every single day. We see heartbreaking stories on TV and in news headlines, or hear about them through word of mouth and they evoke emotions. Individuals are moved to give. But chances are, they are busy with something and don’t quite get onto their computer to donate. They think, “Oh, I’ll do it later.” But later turns into never, as the emotion that instilled the desire to donate has passed.

People are impulsive givers.

Mobile channels allow you to quickly reach your donors and engage with them in a variety of ways. They offer a more convenient means for donors to receive information and communicate through mobile web and text messaging, and enable fundraising opportunities via text-to-give. Most importantly, the simplicity and convenience of mobile caters to generous impulses.

So we’ve established that the best way to capitalize on fleeting moments of “good feeling” is to reach donors on easily accessible mobile devices, where speed and ease are the name of the game, right? Yet studies still show that the vast majority of nonprofits don’t prioritize mobile or even use it at all.

Take a look at some quick, shocking facts about NPOs’ use of mobile as a fundraising channel:

Clearly, from the nonprofit’s point of view, mobile isn’t a priority. But what about from donors’ perspective?

mGive’s 2014 Text Donation Study shows that donors chose giving by text messaging to be their preferred method of making a donation, followed by online donations and then special events. The study shows that many donors want to donate by text, have a very satisfactory experience when they do donate by text, yet only 30% reported texting as a “usual” method of giving. Clearly, there is a gap between giving preference and practice.

In case that doesn’t convince you, according to Capterra’s article,“The Essential Guide to Going Mobile for Nonprofits,” nonprofits that offer mobile options for donors generate up to 123% more individual donations per campaign than organizations that don’t. The Humane Society of the United States added text messaging as a communication channel in 2007, and used it to send personalized updates and virtual petitions to supporters. 10,000 people signed up for updates in the first year alone.

@Pay’s two-click technology allows for easy donations directly from mobile web, email, text message, AND QR codes. We make giving on a mobile device quick, instant, and secure to cater to generous impulses. The ease with which the process is completed—gone are the days of entering tedious credit card information every single time to donate—will help improve the fundraising experience across generations.

Bottom line, transitioning to mobile can not only help bridge the generational divide that causes nonprofits so much worry, but also majorly increase overall fundraising to make the aging donor demographics dilemma disappear.

Mobile is the most up-to-date fundraising solution, and nonprofits that have gone mobile have experienced great success. This success has become more and more of a trend over the past couple of years. Mobile is not simply a fad, it’s the future. Might as well adapt to it sooner rather than later, right? And if donor demographics are your primary concern, mobile can help you succeed at replenishing your aging followers with new, younger followers AND mobile will increasingly appeal even to older followers as well. Add mobile to your existing fundraising and communication channels, and broadly increase your reach and effectiveness across ALL generations.

 

Related:

Unexpected Uses of Email

Infographic: The Future of Email is Mobile

@Pay’s Text-to-Give Solution Trumps Traditional Carrier Methods

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