We’ve been talking about where to find donors and how to keep them. You can hone your direct mail acquisition methods, maximizing your chances of adding prospective donors. And, you can use email more effectively to cultivate and deepen the relationship with existing donors.
The reality is that mail and email are still the workhorses of fundraising, but social media and mobile communications are a part of our future. Donors of every age are embracing new forms of communication.
“68% of all Americans (internet users and non‐users alike) said the internet has had a major impact on the ability of groups to communicate with members.” (Pew Internet)
During the 4th quarter of 2010, smart phone shipments surpassed PCs. And in 2010, Facebook pushed past Google to become the most popular site on the Internet for the first time, according to two Web tracking firms.
While donors over the age of 65 have a lower level of participation, their numbers are growing quickly. Baby boomers, Gen X-ers and Millennials have even higher overall adoption rates according to data released by Pew Internet in December 2010.
Boomers (Age 46 to 64)
Between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking use among internet users ages 50-64 grew by 88% – from 25% to 47%. These folks are searching, reading email and watching videos. For this age group, your multi-channel campaigns should include mail, emails with links to video, social media, as well as good search engine optimization and search engine marketing (Facebook Ads and Google Adwords). This group is also called "The Me Generation" so be sure that your subject lines, online ads, status updates and tweets answer the question: What’s In It For Me?
Generation X (Age 30ish to 45)
These folks are constantly doing more with less – often eclipsed by the generations before and after them. And in their effort to find a niche, they are embracing the micro-blogging site Twitter. The average age of Twitter users is 31. These folks are in the primes of their careers and are adopting Twitter professionally and personally. Your messaging is what matters most to this group. Be concise. Be specific. And be transparent.
Millennials (Age 18 to 30ish)
I read somewhere that millennials “eat with their smart phones, sleep with their smart phone, use the restrooms with their…” You get the idea. Millennials are the most likely group to connect to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and use online classifieds services like Craigslist. They are connected all the time, and they tend to evaluate your campaign according to this principle criteria: “Is it status-update worthy?”
So what does all this mean? Your new donors and future donors are increasingly online. Their activity and approach to these new communication methods may vary, but their level of interest is strong and growing.
Start a relationship with them – and not just a financially-based relationship. We suggest creating at least one campaign per year that is geared toward these different generations and then use every channel you have to get the word out. In the next several weeks, we’re going to be at several conferences and would love to chat about this as it applies to your specific program.
Part 1: Donor Location by Generation
Case Study: Where are all the good donors?