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3 Ways to Engage Generation X Donors


We know a lot about Baby Boomers. The media talks incessantly about Millennials. But what about Generation X? And what does this generation nestled between these two huge populations mean for nonprofits?

As Boomers age out of the prime giving years (62-75), nonprofits must turn their sights to the next generation.

For perspective, here are top line giving trends of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials.

Although Millennials are already on par with Gen X in giving trends, there’s one big reason that nonprofits shouldn’t sleep on this forgotten generation: a whopping $59 trillion will be handed down from Baby Boomers by 2061.

Before you jump headfirst into engaging with Gen Xers, there are two common traits about Gen X that directly impact how they interact with nonprofits:

  1. Gen Xers are skeptics. They were the first generation where everything from corporate scandals and charity mishandling to political hijinks and social woes was covered continuously on newly minted 24-hour cable news channels, which created a general sense of unease toward anything organized.
  2. Gen X are caregivers. The latest statistics show that 42% of Gen X financially support a child or a parent, which reduces the amount of financial flexibility for most.

These traits are reflected in their donation and volunteering trends. This generation is more inclined to donate their time or services before making monetary contributions. In fact, they lead in volunteer hours as compared to other generations. Moreover, Gen X typically donates and supports their local place of worship and social services as well as animal rescues and children’s charities. They tend to focus on local organizations where they can get involved and see an impact.

How can nonprofits boost donations from Gen X?

Building trust is critical for nonprofits who want to attract Gen X donors. Again, Gen Xers are, generally speaking, skeptics. If they’re interested in supporting your organization, they’ll feel much more comfortable volunteering or donating goods and services than they will forking over cash.

The best part is that these volunteers are two times more likely to donate. Why? Because they see first-hand how you contribute to society, what you do with donations, and get a feel for the integrity of those who operate your organization. In other words, they trust you.

So here are three ways you can tap into Gen X traits and trends to gain their support in time for year-end fundraising:

  1. Create in-person volunteer opportunities
  2. Arrange drives to collect food, coat drives, or other goods
  3. Request pro-bono operational support such as bookkeeping or marketing

Bolstering your volunteer program isn’t just key to winning Gen X’s confidence; it’s integral to bringing in major donors. In a philanthropic study, high net worth individuals were asked what other ways they could create impact, and 69% said they would prefer to volunteer.

This type of broad strokes information is great for thinking about different ways to create a high-impact year-end campaign with various segments. The real gold comes from digging through your own data to unearth trends and themes specific to your supporters.

Looking to give your year-end fundraising campaign a boost?

For more data-driven year-end fundraising ideas and to download our comprehensive year-end fundraising toolbox, check out our 8 Weeks of Year-End Fundraising Resources.

Questions?We’d love to help.

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