I just don't get that generation." | npENGAGE

I just don’t get that generation.”

By on Mar 15, 2010

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Being a father of high school and college age daughters, I say “I just don’t get it” quite often. I admit that I also question some of the things my parents say and do – I thought I raised them better. 🙂 The generations are different…

Today, Jordan Viator, our super communications manager for all things interactive, fun and digital was featured in The New York Times about using Foursquare to broadcast to her friends where she is during SXSW Interactive. I personally don’t get it. Why would you do that? I know she says that about a lot of things I do, as her generation has many questions for us “older folks” and they are not afraid to ask. Of course, I probably wondered why anyone would use Facebook and Twitter at some point and now I use them regularly.

The reality is there are generational differences in the way we engage and the way we live our lives. (I’ve put a lot of “duh moments” into these posts lately.) To efficiently and effectively manage my life – family, work and beyond,  I need to understand the generational differences of the people I interact with.

It’s no different with fundraising.

Anecdotally and intuitively nonprofit professionals know that changing demographics and technology are driving a shift in charitable engagement. Questions abound:

How do donors of different generations learn about nonprofit organizations?
What are their preferred channels for engagement?
What are the most appropriate channels for fundraising?
Who and what influences their giving decisions?
What will the on-going value of direct mail be versus online and emerging fundraising channels such as social media and mobile?
While much has been written about the differences between the generations, there has yet to be an in-depth study on the charitable giving habits, preferences and differences for Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers and Matures. Until now.

Working with our friends at Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research announced the results of a first-of-its-kind national research study into the charitable giving behaviors and attitudes across Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers and Matures. This is the same team that brought you the “Wired Wealthy.” Some of the key findings will change the way nonprofit’s approach the art and science of fundraising.

The full report is available at: www.convio.com/nextgen

In the coming weeks we’ll be posting more information and hosting webinars, but for now, I wanted to introduce the research to you. In this economy we can’t afford to say “I just don’t get it” when it comes to engagement with donors and prospects. We can’t let the shifting demographics and ways in which people use technology get too far ahead of us – leaving our mission behind. Like the “Wired Wealthy,” this is a must read for the modern fundraising professional. We already pulled some of the data for a feature research package on mobile giving, particularly related to the response to the earthquake in Haiti. There is more to come.

(I have to admit the irony of seeing Jordan, the digital-force for our social media, blog and online efforts in print today, made me smile.)

 

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