Nonprofits often excel at reaching baby boomer donors in Canada because many traditional fundraising strategies such as direct mail and email marketing are designed with this generation in mind. Data suggests that baby boomers are an important population for any nonprofit organization to target for fundraising and support. While boomers, those born between 1946 and 1965, represented close to 30% of Canada’s total population as of 2011, they also make up to 47% of all charitable donations. It’s likely that baby boomers are your nonprofit’s most active, loyal donors. To ensure you’re reaching baby boomer donors, follow these best practices.
Get to Know Your Baby Boomer Donors
Personalization is an essential element in nonprofit fundraising, and it’s important to include personal elements in your outreach to the baby boomer population. The first step in personalizing the nonprofit experience is getting to know your donors. Baby boomers want to be understood. Learn about all your donors, especially your baby boomer population, by focusing on what connects them to your nonprofit. Some ways to do this include:
- After a baby boomer donates, thank them and ask them to complete a donor interest survey.
- Call new donors to learn basic information about them, including their occupation, their philanthropic interests, and their anticipated level of engagement.
- Use A/B testing when sending out marketing emails and direct mail correspondence. Take note of the types of communications the boomer population best responds to.
Once you know about what motivates your baby boomer donors to give to your cause, you can better tailor communications that further inspire them to stay connected.
Make Every Success About Them
Nonprofits are sometimes guilty of making every positive story about themselves, but the great work being done in the world isn’t just a result of your efforts. In fact, it’s directly related to your donor’s gift. Make every success about your baby boomer donors. When sending thank-you notes, inform your donor of the gift’s impact. Share information about donor return on investment frequently through email, social media, and in direct mailings. When something great happens within your organization, make sure your donors that are the first to know. Your organization can’t operate without donations, so keep your donors aware of how essential (and life-changing) their gifts are.
Tell a Story
Nonprofit storytelling is a common way for charitable organizations to share information about impact in a human way, and stories are an ideal way to connect boomers to your mission.. However, trends catering to millennial populations have shifted these stories to a digital format through images and videos shared through email and social media. Baby boomers enjoy all this media, but they also appreciate a good written story. When writing nonprofit stories geared toward baby boomers, ignore brevity in exchange for substance. Put an emphasis on connecting them emotionally to your work. For example, share a client story (written in the client’s own words) or have staff detail their work in the field.
Create an Annual Engagement Plan
Reaching baby boomer donors is a year-round, cyclical effort. Because of this, many nonprofits choose to follow a donor engagement plan that includes a mixture of inspirational (such as storytelling and email marketing) and engagement (such as volunteering or connecting on social media fundraising) opportunities. A well-informed donor nurtured through inspiration and engagement is more likely to give year after year. As more baby boomers enter retirement age, they are more likely to increase their philanthropic giving in the future. Create and implement a strategy that targets baby boomers to provide them with the right motivation and opportunity to give to your organization. Once they connect with your cause, they’re more likely to stay with you through the long haul.