Engaging older donors by providing options


Andrew Watt


Andrew Watt

One of the ideas we’ve discussed a lot recently is stewardship: the need to engage our donors on their terms.

Donor retention levels are low because – in large part – we’re not practising good stewardship. We’re taking our supporters for granted. We’re generalizing and categorizing without understanding them, trying to provide them with information or giving them any options.

Now, there’s further evidence we have to take our blinders off.

In a new study by Campbell Rinker and Dunham+Company, one out of two donors age 60 and older had given an online gift at some point. In addition, the typical donor age 60 or older had given nearly 30 percent more gifts online than those under 40.

Think about that. We’re constantly told that older people are not interested in giving online. But have you asked your older donors that question?

Now, the study also found that 85 percent of older donors who have not given online said they were not willing to consider giving an online donation. But that only underscores my point: We HAVE to get to know our donors, and one way we do that is by giving them options. It’s quite likely that some of the older donors who gave online probably never thought they’d ever give online either, but with a little education and hand-holding, they tried it.

Giving options. Providing education. Keeping an open mind. Those aren’t radical ideas. They’re just good stewardship, the lynchpin of our profession.

Andrew Watt is president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals

Tagged in: Donor engagement Older donors Online giving

Comments (1)

sharon rosen

Interesting statistic, and not surprising that 'BabyBoomers' are giving online. They say "60 is the new 40"- Most 60 year olds are working and tech saavy. One of the reasons http://ShivaConnect.com was created was to communicate electronically and facilitate online Memorial Donations- modern, quick, convenient.

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