Let's Talk About Generational Giving

Sharon Castle
Capacity Builder

A new report from the Giving Tuesday Data Commons recently released *Rethinking Resilience:  Insights from the Giving Ecosystem, A Lookback at 2022 Trends in Global Generosity. *”  

The study’s purpose was to provide a data-driven deep dive into “the social sector’s understanding of the giving ecosystem.”  The nearly 60-page report is chock full of information including why, how, and what donors give, strategies for success, donor advised funds and more.  While the report includes global giving data it also provides a spotlight on giving in the United States including generational giving. 

How different generations in the USA give has long been a topic of discussion and the report highlights the differences including, “In the USA, generational differences in giving behaviors generally align with a wide range of other demographic characteristics. For example, those who more often report giving money formally to charities and nonprofits are often older, retired, married and higher income. Those who report more often giving informally, either on an ad hoc basis or to informal groups such as community groups, are more often younger, single, and lower income.” 

Previous studies have shared important generational information including that the “Silent Generation,” born between 1925-1945; “Baby Boomers,” born between 1946-1964; “Generation X,” born between 1965-1976; “Millennials,” born between 1977-1995 and “Generation Z,” born between 1996-2010 all have varying formative experiences, different attitudes toward careers, technology, communication, and financial decision-making preferences.

So, what does this mean for nonprofit organizations?   When you are communicating with or soliciting different generational audiences keep in mind the following:

It is also important to keep in mind that how a donor initially gives to your organization is how they will continue to give.  So, don’t send an email solicitation to someone who sent you a check…or send a direct mail piece to someone who donated through crowdsourcing. 

Generational giving is just one factor to consider in your development efforts.  Nonprofit Network has several workshops and programs designed to help develop sustainable fundraising programs including a specialized course focusing on planning for and executing a capital campaign.  Visit www.nonprofitnetwork.org to learn more.

*The full report can be found at www.givingtuesday.org

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