Charities Must Focus on Multiple Ways to Reach Young Donors, Generation Study Finds

June 22, 2011

(by Carolina Preston)

People in their 20s have been called the next “greatest generation,” the “trophy
generation,” and even “narcissistic praise hounds.”

For charity fund-raisers, those people might be better known as the donors who are hardest to hold onto, according to the results of a study released on Monday. Members of Generation Y, the term most often used for this group, tend to be less loyal to an organization and hold high expectations for online attempts to attract them. But they also have a strong desire to help others and to raise money and attention from friends and acquaintances for their favorite causes.

Those are just a few of the findings of a new survey released by Convio and Sea
Change Strategies about how members of different generations learn about
charities, interact with them, and support them.

Conducted by Edge Research, the study polled more than 1,500 people who contributed to nonprofit groups in the past year.

The survey found that members of Generation Y, who were born from 1981 to 1991, and the group that preceded it—Generation X (those born from 1965 to 1980)—now make up more than half of the pool of potential donors.

But they contribute less money and support fewer charities. Donors born since 1980
gave an average of $341 to an average of 3.6 groups, while members of Generation X gave $796 to 4.2 organizations.

By contrast, the baby boomer—people born from 1946 to 1964—gave $901 to 5.2 groups and those born in 1945 or earlier gave an average of $1,066 to 6.3 charities.

No Single Way to Give

Though younger people give to fewer groups, they are willing to give in multiple ways, compared with their parents and grandparents.

Direct mail remains the dominant way through which older people give, with 77 percent of donors born in 1945 or earlier saying they had given through the mail in the past two years.

But among members of Generation X and Generation Y, no single way of giving dominated.

Forty-three percent of Generation X and 26 percent of Generation Y members in the survey said they had given through the mail in the past two years, while 35 percent of
Generation X had used a charity’s Web site and 29 percent of Generation Y had
used that approach.

For all of the generations, donating money at a supermarket or retail store was a
primary way to give—52 percent of all those polled had given that way, a bigger
share than any other technique. But that approach was especially popular with
younger people. Fifty-seven percent of Generation X donated that way, and 48
percent of Generation Y did so.

Cell phone donations were far less common, with 13 percent of those in their 20s
giving that way and 14 percent of Generation X doing so. Still, that was far
more than the older generation: Just 4 percent of baby boomers used the
technique and 2 percent of those 65 and older.

The appeal of so many giving techniques means fund-raisers need to offer numerous
options to attract younger donors, said Vinay Bhagat, chief strategy officer at
Convio. “We are living in a multichannel world. The emphasis on focusing
maniacally on mature donors from a marketing perspective has to change.”

Assessing Results

In addition to diversifying how they promote their causes and reach out to potential donors, charities need to change how they track interactions with donors, said Mr. Bhagat. He said it no longer makes sense for charities to emphasize measuring how much money came in through direct mail, how much online, and how much through an event.

All of those approaches are important ways to raise money, he says, but they work
in concert: A donor who contributed on a charity’s Web site might first have learned about the group on a friend’s Facebook page, then have been motivated to go back online after seeing an advertisement or receiving a mailing.

Through focus groups with donors, the survey found that younger people enjoy giving as part of social events such as parties and athletic races. They also put a priority on volunteering and tend to give just because they are asked and often without conducting much research.

By comparison, older people think in advance about their giving and are more
concerned about how much money goes to administrative costs.

Members of Generation Y, in particular, are also enthusiastic about using the Internet to encourage other people to support causes. Thirty-six percent of those under 30 said they had forwarded a message about a charity to a friend in the past
month, 37 percent said they would join an organization’s Facebook group, and 29
percent had shared articles, photographs, or other information about a
nonprofit organization on their own Facebook page.

Mr.Bhagat said that charities can encourage such activism by providing people simple ways to ask their friends to give online in honor of sporting events, birthdays, and other occasions.

Text-Message Giving

The survey also signaled that text-message giving is gaining acceptance. Seventy-seven percent of people in the survey said they had heard about the opportunity to make a donation via their cellphones after the Haiti earthquake, and 36 percent said they would be willing to contribute via text after an emergency occurs.

Thirty-one percent of all donors in the survey said they would be willing to contribute via text to help a friend raise money, and 28 percent they would be willing to do so as part of a charity fund-raiser.

  • Thirty-five percent of people born in 1945 or before said they had first learned about their favorite nonprofit group through the mail; 19 percent of boomers and 16 percent of members of Generation X said the same
  • Younger donors were more likely to say they would increase their giving this year than older people, the majority of whom said their giving would remain the same
  • Members of Generation Y were less likely than older people to say the economy had affected their giving, in large part because they had less money before the recession
  • People born before 1965 were most likely to keep up-to-date on charities from mailings, while younger people said Web sites were a more important source of information




Donation checks have been mailed out to

June 14, 2011

Donation checks have been mailed out to all our partner organizations.Congratulations!!!!

Congratulations Great Lakes Christian Co

June 14, 2011

Congratulations Great Lakes Christian College! Check out their newly updated donation page at

Fundraising & Public Relations: What’s The Connection?

November 24, 2010

by The Fundraising Authority (11/22/10) 

As development professionals, volunteers, and board members, we spend a lot of time searching for new prospects… trying to find new individuals, companies and foundations who might respond to our message, who we can cultivate, and who, over time, might make a significant gift to help us continue our work.

Prospecting can be time-consuming, and can often be disheartening, if we have trouble finding and cultivating new leads.  Wouldn’t it be great if new donors sought you out?  If you came into the office and had messages waiting from major funders who wanted to learn more about your organization, and about what your funding needs are?

Similarly, wouldn’t it be nice to have some real, hard, solid “social proof” to take with you as you approached new prospects… something to show them just how important your work is?

All that can and does happen every day for nonprofits, both large and small, thanks to smart public relations efforts.

What Is “Public Relations”?

Simply put, “public relations,” or “PR,” encompasses all the activities your organization does to get press coverage for your work.  Press releases and press conferences, letters to the editor, calls into talk radio and interviews with journalists… getting coverage of your non-profit and getting your message out through the press is the essence of good PR.

How Can Good PR Help Me Raise Money?

Smart non-profits have started to realize that a strong PR effort, and good press coverage, can lead to increased fundraising.  There are several ways good PR can help you raise more money:

1.  New Prospects That Find You:

When you get good coverage, people learn more about your work and want to get involved.  When you get really good coverage, you start to get calls from prospects wanting to learn more, volunteer, and donate.  Good press coverage is a great way to find new prospects.

2.  Raising General Awareness:

Good PR raises awareness in the community about your non-profit and the work you do.  If you run a small non-profit, you know how hard it is to approach new prospects.  It’s unlikely they know your organization’s name or what type of work you do.  After a couple of good press stories about your non-profit, people start to know your name, and may even remember your mission, which makes it much easier to start cultivating them.

3.  “Social Proof”:

Press coverage provides good social proof that what you are doing matters, and that your organization is a leader in your field.  Approaching a new prospect with clips of newspaper articles about your non-profit, or a short video from the local news with an interview of your Executive Director, can go a long way toward overcoming objections and moving a prospect towards a gift.

Keep it Mission-Focused and Stay on Message

As you seek out and receive press coverage, remember to keep the stories you are generating mission-focused, and do your best to stay on message.  It’s nice getting press coverage of any (non-scandalous) kind, but it’s best, for fundraising purposes, if you can generate great stories about your work, and your mission.  For more on keeping your efforts mission-focused, read Mission + Energy = Raising More Money.

Great PR Rarely Just Happens

Almost any organization can “luck into” a local press story every so often.  But to get maximum coverage over a sustained period, it takes good planning and hard work.  Great PR rarely just happens.  It takes lots of calls, press releases, and follow-up to generate good coverage.

Where Should I Start?

So, where should you start in your PR efforts?  If you are a larger organization that can afford a professional public relations company (generally, they charge in the range of $1,000 – $5,000 per month on retainer, depending on their size, your geographic location, and the scope of work), shop around and talk to a few to see what they can do for you.

If you are a smaller organization or otherwise can’t afford a firm, that’s ok, much of the work can be done in house.  Start by compiling a contact list for all of the press outlets and reporters in your area, including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and online outlets.  Then, start pitching stories, sending out press releases, and holding press events.

As you do so, remember the number one rule of getting press coverage: the press wants to cover you, but they only want to cover you if you have real news to cover.  So generate newsworthy items, and get that press coverage rolling in.

How Non Profits Turn 7 Important Issues into Opportunities

September 29, 2010

Nonprofit Organizations Must Embrace Social Media June 11, 2010 09:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.–(EON: Enhanced Online News)

We are in a time like none other. The economic issues we are facing combined with the revolution of social media is forever changing how nonprofits are seen and conduct the work at hand. In the summer of 2008 Alan J. Abramson, a Professor at George Mason University in the Department of Public and International Affairs and a Senior Fellow in the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program at the Aspen Institute, identified seven issues facing the nonprofit sector. They are things you may still be struggling with…

 1. Loss of Legitimacy. “Return on investment” is a term that has spread prolifically across multiple industries and we’ve found it affects even nonprofits where stakeholders of every variety (boards, government, foundations, corporations, general public) are questioning nonprofit work and expenses. There’s a call for transparency. Stakeholders want to see good being done in the community through efficient and cost-effective means.

 2. Fiscal stress. The need for nonprofit services and solutions has exploded while budgets and fundraising probably haven’t. How do you do even more with less?

 3. Increased demand in face of demographic and economic changes. As the demand for services increases – along with the changing demographics of those served and serving – nonprofits will see a continued dramatic shift/change in regards to human capital. Boomers will require more assistance over the next several decades while we also experience demographic changes in a new generation of nonprofit leadership.

 4. Increased competition. The New York Times recently reported that the number of nonprofits has increased 60% in the last decade. Social media has helped cultivate a new wave of smaller nonprofits competing with the more established agencies and groups. Plus the lagging economy has spurred the growth of for-profit entities, which disseminate products, people and services to groups once served by nonprofits. This competition for funds, resources and volunteers is sure to weigh heavily on many nonprofits.

 5. Increased pressure to perform. Doing more with less and being more under the spotlight has increased the pressure to out-perform even the highest of standards while the distribution of resources has not kept up. Add to it the ever-present scrutiny of public and private sectors and nonprofits are experiencing a pressure they may not have experienced before.

6. Human resource. The most underappreciated yet essential part of your nonprofit’s organization is the human element. Whether speaking of fiscal investment in employees/staff/volunteers or the recognition and support of these individuals, human capital is of fundamental importance to the health and sustainability of your nonprofit’s mission.

 7. Greater visibility. The positive communal view of the work of nonprofits is experiencing resurgence through social media exposure and a 24-hour television news cycle. With the ability to share information at lightning fast speeds, news of the work and mission of nonprofits (both for the positive and negative) is far-reaching.

So where are we going now? Here are some solutions for nonprofits:

Nonprofit organizations must embrace social media. The last words you may want to hear, because of the frequency in which you hear them, are Embrace social media. The degree to which you choose to do so is your call and depends largely on the type of nonprofit, your audience and the community you serve. The decision is ultimately on you but participation in social media allows you to become more transparent while you reach larger audiences and become part of a global conversation. You have a community already. Providing them the opportunity to connect with one another will only make them more loyal. Plus social media is a great tool to use to educate those who need services and those who can help you provide them. You’re already asking for help, why not do so with a larger audience? Overcome a fear of change. In a controversial blog post, Seth Godin chided nonprofits for being afraid of change, for doing things the way they’ve always done them. He sparked quite a conversation. But ask yourself are you happy with the work you’re doing and the resources you have?

Decide whether you are doing it the same way you’ve always done it because it’s comfortable or effective. Maximize the use of your resources. Too many services needed, not enough time. Doing too much with too little. Make sure that you maximize the efficiency of what you can control, like administrative tasks. Nonprofit management software exists that can help you manage online donations and fundraising; event and conference management; volunteer coordination; reporting functionality; an ecommerce storefront; bulk email and send enewsletters easily and more efficiently; as well as provide your community a means in which to connect.

Continue your work. You’re doing great! You’re making a difference. That’s what you do best.

E-mail Fundraising

August 31, 2010

(written by The Fundraising Authority/

Quick Guide to E-mail Fundraising Raising money online is nothing new. While many non-profits may not be doing it right, almost all organizations know that it is something they should be trying to do. E-mail fundraising, on the other hand, is something that most non-profits are not doing. There are a number of good reasons for this… primarily, many development directors hear “e-mail fundraising” and think of those spammy sales letters and chain fundraising letters that you see from time to time. Thus, they stay away from e-mail fundraising, and in doing so, miss out on a big source of potential income for their schools, churches, and charities.

In this article, we’re going to talk about e-mail fundraising: what works, what doesn’t, and how to maximize your revenue through this type of solicitation. If your non-profit is looking for a great way to augment your current revenue, check out this advice and add e-mail fundraising to your arsenal….

 What Not to Do: Spam Let’s start with the things your non-profit should avoid when starting an e-mail fundraising campaign. First among those is spam. Spam is what has given fundraising e-mails a bad name, and likewise has caused many organizations to avoid dipping their toes into the e-mail development waters. Simply put, spam is unsolicited e-mail. If you buy or compile a list of people who have no connection to your organization, have not previously donated to your group, and have not signed up to receive e-mails from you, then you are spamming. Spam sometimes works in the short-run, but as a long-term fundraising strategy, it generally fails. Spam annoys people, turns them off, and often makes them angry… not a great way to get people to give to your organization. Avoid spamming by sending fundraising e-mails only to your in-house list, one that comprises your donors, volunteers, supporters, and others who have given you permission to stay in touch with them.

What Not to Do: Cheese The second major thing to avoid in e-mail fundraising solicitations is what I call “cheese.” That is, using cheesy, sales-type language that turns donors off and makes them think twice about giving to your non-profit. The best way to engage donors over e-mail is also the best way to engage them in person: with compelling stories about your work, a short explanation of your mission and why you need the money, and a direct ask…

What Not to Do: Dance Which brings us to the third and final thing you need to avoid when drafting your e-mail solicitations: dancing… as in, “dancing around the ask.” The only way to raise money over e-mail is to ask for it. Don’t try to hide the purpose of your e-mail. Be honest, get to the point, and ask for a donation. Remember, putting a “donate now” button on your e-mail newsletters is important and can raise good money for your group, but that doesn’t qualify the newsletter as a fundraising e-mail. Every organization should, in addition to regular communications like newsletters and updates, be sending out at least one or two fundraising e-mails per year – e-mails whose sole purpose is to raise funds from your e-mail distribution list. (If you need help on how to craft an ask, check out How to Ask Anyone for Anything).

What Works: Building a List and Staying In Touch Now that we’ve taken a look at what doesn’t work, the question is: what does work? The answer is simple: building a quality e-mail distribution list, and staying in regular touch with that group of people.

 How to Build a List As mentioned above, your goal should be to build an ever-growing e-mail distribution list comprised of people who have given you permission to communicate with them. This means you’ll need to start asking people for their e-mail addresses and keeping these addresses in a database. Start with the people who have already given you permission to contact them: your donors and volunteers. How many of them have given you e-mail addresses? Get in touch with those that haven’t and ask for them. Tell these supporters the truth: that you are starting an e-newsletter, and want to stay in touch with them through e-mail. You’ll also want to make sure that you are collecting e-mail addresses wherever and whenever possible from folks who have indicated an interest in your organization. Make sure that your donor envelope asks for the person’s e-mail address. Put a sign-up box on your website.

 Have e-newsletter sign-up forms at every event your organization holds. When people sign up for your e-newsletter, send them an immediate thank you e-mail (this task can and should be automated) so that when they get their first regularly scheduled e-mail from you, they’ll remember that they signed up for your list. Your goal is to keep your list growing week by week, month by month.

 How to Stay in Touch Once you’ve started your list, then next trick is to stay in touch with your donors via e-mail. Most of these communications should not be fundraising solicitations. Most should be updates and newsletters, with a few solicitations sprinkled in. The single best way to stay in touch with your donors via e-mail is through a regular e-mail newsletter. This type of communication allows you to stay in front of your donors in a non-threatening way on a regular basis, makes donors feel like part of your team, and brings them closer to your organization by providing stories, pictures, and updates on the work you do. Companies like AWeber and Constant Contact (I have successfully used both) provide a very affordable way to send out great looking newsletters to your list.

 How Often? Your goal should be to send out an e-mail newsletter at least every other month, but no more than monthly, unless your donor base has unique needs for more regular communications. These newsletters should be mission-based, providing updates, news, and stories, along with pictures of your non-profit in action. Then, at least once per year (but no more than quarterly, unless you have a very unique situation), send out an e-mail fundraising letter to your list asking for donation. Your supporters will be used to getting e-mails from you, will be up to date on your work, thanks to your newsletters, and will likely be ready to support you by making an online donation through your e-mail fundraising letter.

How To Motivate Your Board To Raise More Money

July 8, 2010

(written by The Fundraising Authority /

This is a tricky subject, and a difficult one for many non-profits to address:  How can you get your board to raise more money on your behalf?

I’m not talking about “show boards,” those boards of directors that you asked people to be on just so you could attach their name to your cause (usually well known local people)… you knew what you were getting into there, and it wasn’t having the board doing lots of work.

No, what I am talking about is the average non-profit board of directors: a group of people who have some financial means and a decent social network, but who aren’t uber-wealthy, and who got onto the board for the right reason… because they believe in the mission of the organization.

How do you, as an Executive Director, Development Director, Board Chair, or Development Committee Chair, motivate this type of board to raise more money for the organization?

I’ve seen it done very successfully, and it always seems to come down to four key tactics:

#1 – Explaining the Role

First and foremost, board members need to understand that a critical part of their role, as a member of the board, is fundraising.  This should be made clear to members as they join the board.  If it has not been noted in the past, now is the time for the board chair to (gently) make it known that the organization will not survive without the fundraising efforts of the board.  (For more information on explaining the role and setting board fundraising goals, read this article.)

#2 – Explaining the Need

Next, board members need to understand why your organization needs the money.  Many organizations do a great job in explaining to board members that they need to raise money, but then never tell the board why you need the money.  Nothing is as de-motivating to a fundraiser as knowing what the revenue goal is without knowing what it is being spent on.

Take time to explain to your board what phenomenal programs you will be able to fund with the money they are helping you raise.  Paint a picture of what the world will look like if you hit your fundraising goals… and what it will look like if you don’t.  Explain that as leaders of the non-profit, you’re counting on them to help serve this need.  Motivate them by having them read Thinking Big in Fundraising.

#3 – Making it Easy

The most successful non-profit board fundraising efforts are easy to understand.  Set up easy to use fundraising systems for your board.

If you want them to ask for money one-on-one, show them how to do it, give them supporting materials, let them practice with your staff.  Better yet, set up a system that makes it easy to ask for money in bite sized chunks: have them ask people to sponsor 1 child for $100 or 5 children for $500… or to sponsor meals at your homeless shelter for $235 per day.  Make it easy to “sell.”

Other easy to understand systems you could use include selling event tickets and inviting people to free cultivation events.

#4 – Following Up

The fourth and final key to boosting your board fundraising efforts is to have your staff follow up constantly with the board.  Not to hound, but to encourage and support.  Regular calls, e-mails, and meetings to motivate your team and keep them apprised of the overall effort will go a long way to keeping people on task raising money for your charity.

Fundraising Cyber Style

May 24, 2010

In today’s economic environment, it is easy to understand why donors are holding back generosity in supporting their cause. The instability in the work place and the shift of constant changes in a blink of an eye, has created a challenge for many non-profits.  

The challenge: How to raise money to meet last year’s budget while dealing with present need to fill the gap of this year’s deficit.  Mangers are facing a brave new world where tradition is viewed as “that’s so yesterday” and setting the trends are viewed as “here today until something better comes along tomorrow”. The world Cyber Style.

A complete new model and set of rules apply to e-fundraising. The method is to market through new media channels providing as many different options allowing the donor to choose, at their comfort level, how they want to help. Empowering through innovation.

The Save’NDonate model for e-fundraising differs from others, providing a way to help organizations generate critical funds through a recurring stream.  The system is cost free to all involved, and here is why it works so incredibly.

First, a free application is installed onto any computer by going to the Save’NDonate website ( The ingenious application, which was perfected over four years, allows no need for users to interact with it. During the application install a user has the opportunity to designate one charity as their “favorite”. Whenever the user goes online to shop, which is a routine task for many, a % of the total amount of money they spend on their purchase is directly donated to their charity of choice.

Due to the innovative design of this system, organizations working through them aren’t hounding people for monetary donations, which make some people uncomfortable and pressured. It allows even those who are normally unlikely to contribute due to economic difficulties willing to get involved. 

The system currently works with over 1,600 online stores. What makes it stand apart is that the application silently awaits till the consumers visits one of the participating online stores. The consumer doesn’t have to first go to a designated website to start their shopping. They go directly to, let’s say, If they make a purchase, the software automatically sees Staples as a merchant in the system and knows the users has designated a favorite “organization”. Next, a percentage of the sale is passed along to the charity. These Commission percentages vary from 1 to 48 percent, with the average being 9 percent.

This provides a solution for members to continually make a cost free contribution, as there is no financial impact on the person. The donation income generated for organizations is astounding.

In a world where instant gratification is becoming easier to receive thanks to technology, by creating a forward-looking fundraising application, this new model of raising funds is a home run from the first swing of the bat.

Giving makes cents?

March 30, 2010

Bill Petruck, president of FUNDING matters, a fundraising consulting firm, recently told a group of finance students from Toronto’s York University that a donation of public company shares, bonds, mutual fund units and employee stock options is a key tax saving strategy used in estate planning, and the most tax-effective way to give to charity. So, in other words, it makes solid financial sense to give. It’s counter-intuitive, but true.   We at Save’NDonate believe  the same.  Users save when they shop online using Save’NDonate, because we’re the ones donating…on their behalf.

What do you think?  Does it makes cents to donate? What has been your experience?  We want to hear from you!

Charities Facing Cash Shortfalls

March 28, 2010

A recent news story highlighted the financial difficulties many charities are currently facing.  (article and link below).  Unfortunately, many charities are not yet taking advantage of the incredible power of the internet to increase donations. Through a highly secure and user-friendly application, Save’NDonate donates to charities and member-based organizations every time users shop online. Learn more at


Public sector spending cuts could create a financial black hole for thousands of charities, a report warned.

The Charity Commission said many large organisations could be hit hard by cuts in public sector funding, when delivery contracts between charities and public sector bodies expire in March 2011.

Nearly a quarter of large charities said they consider public sector funding to be their most important source of income.

Dame Suzi Leather, chairman of the commission, said: “Clearly severe cuts lie ahead in both local and central government resources. Many local authorities are already identifying spending on the voluntary sector as being vulnerable.

“There is a real concern that charities which receive money from the public purse to fund their valuable work could find themselves at a financial cliff edge in March 2011.”

Nearly six out of 10 charities claim they have been affected by the economic downturn, with larger organisations hit harder than small ones.

Around 79% of groups with an annual income of more than £100,000 said they had been affected by the recession.

A third of these charities have also seen an increase in demand for their services, while 28% are anticipating a further drop in their income, compared with only 14% of small organisations.

The commission’s economic survey of charities, which questioned more than 1,000 organisations in England and Wales, found that 79% of large organisations had taken steps to respond to the downturn, compared with only 31% of smaller groups.

Dame Suzi said: “Optimism is, of course, very important, but it must be matched by a recognition of the reality of the financial situation. We want trustees to channel their formidable energy into doing all they can to protect the valuable work of their charity. Despite what we may be seeing in other areas of the economy, our research shows that the financial recovery for charities may lag behind that of other sectors.”