What to do if your audience are baby boomers

June 20, 2008

Posted in Fundraising.

Beth Kanter cracked me up today when she wrote, “if the bulk of your audience is from the baby boomer and older and you don’t plan to reach out to younger people—perhaps social networking sites are not the best Internet strategy for your organization.”

I’m hyperconnected. I read a lot of blogs, belong to a bunch of social networking sites, and maintain more websites than is probably healthy.

I’m not the average user, and I know it.

The key is to realize that your own usage patterns do not necessarily mirror those of your audience. And if you’re a non-profit, one of your biggest audiences is prospective donors. Knowing your audience is critical to any organization’s marketing or business efforts, so let’s take a look at prospective donors.

There are varying approaches to the average age of donors, including segments of gift sizes or retention rates. The biggest groups range from the upper 40s to mid-60s. Your biggest online donor segments are still no younger than 45 years old. In fact, the 18-24 and 25-30 ranges are ridiculously low in both gift size and retention rates. They don’t make major gifts and they aren’t as likely to keep giving.

Online and offline donation rates by ages

Check out the graph for one such breakdown of online and offline donors by age ranges. Graph source:Target Analysis Group and Donordigital

If your average Facebook user is under 30 and is highly unlikely to give, let alone build a relationship with a non-profit, is it worth investing your time and money into that area? Though as many have demonstrated, a large number of small gifts is often easier to gain and maintain than one large gift.

1 Comment

  1. Rita — June 21, 2008

    It’s good to see a blog about communicating with boomers where their current interests are. I’ve read a lot of blogs about why boomers don’t use social Web sites much. Maybe they’re talking to family and friends and working in the community in their favorite nonprofit.

    I write a boomer consumer blog called The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide at http://boomersurvive-thriveguide.typepad.com and a blog called the Boomer Consumer for the Seattle Post Intelligencer at http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/boomerconsumer/.


Want to comment? Send me a note on Twitter or email me.