UK Nonprofits Facing Fundraising Generation Gap as Mature Donors Donate 27% More Than Gen X

UK flagUK nonprofits are facing a generation gap in fundraising, according to a new report released by software and services firm Blackbaud and consultancies Xtraordinary Fundraising and Stratcom.

Not enough is being done to address a potential long term donation deficit, with Mature donors giving on average 27 per cent more each year than Generation X and 38 per cent more than Baby Boomers.

The survey also revealed that Mature donors are more loyal to those causes they support, with almost 30 per cent having donated to their causes for between 10 and 15 years and 16 per cent for more than 20 years.

Key findings include:

  • Matures (born 1945 or earlier) – give an average of £211.30 per year to 5.3 different causes
  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) – give an average of £153.28 per year to 5.4 different causes
  • Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) – give an average of £166.63 per year to 4.6 different causes
  • Generation Y (born between 1981 and 1991) – give an average of £113.22 per year to 4.6 different causes

Whilst the Gen Y age group donates the least they are the age group most likely to volunteer for a cause (29 per cent) and to attend and organise events (16 per cent). They are also the most engaged in participating online and sharing actions with others online, with 27 per cent following a cause on a social network to stay informed and 25 per cent sharing a cause’s online content with others.

The first engagement a nonprofit has with a potential supporter is critical and 27 per cent of UK donors revealed that peer-to-peer communication is the way they learned about the causes that they give to, whether in-person, through email, or via social media. Mainstream media – radio, television and newspapers – also plays a major role with 15 per cent saying it was most important.

UK donors most commonly report that the ways they stay in touch with a nonprofit are by receiving mail, visiting an organisation’s website, and receiving email messages and newsletters. Not surprisingly, Matures are most likely to receive information in the mail, while Gen Y are most likely to get information by visiting the website and from social media.

More than one-third of UK donors make donations through monthly direct debit, rising to nearly half (47 per cent) of Matures, making that age group twice as likely as Gen Y donors to give monthly. Donating via a website is not just restricted to Gen Y donors, with Mature donors almost equally as likely to donate online.

Due to the number of donors within these age groups, Baby Boomers and Gen X are potentially the most valuable to the third sector and the report recommends that UK not-for-profits pay close attention to their giving and communication preferences.

Other key findings include:

  • Two-thirds of Mature donors use Facebook
  • Generation Y (43 per cent) had the strongest desire to increase money and time commitments
  • 60 per cent of generation Y visit an organisation’s website before making a donation

The full report – “The Next Generation of UK Giving” – is available for download here.