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Time for fundraising to look up

1 September 2014
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Xtraordinary Fundraising, Forster Communications and Blackbaud Inc have produced a new research report looking at the giving habits of the two older generations of UK donors – baby boomers and those born before 1945 – alongside their peers in the US and Canada, which highlights the potential they offer and the need for charities to consider more digital and mobile platforms for engaging them as donors.

Key insights from the report include:

  • UK fundraising charities may miss out on fully exploiting a fantastic source of fundraising and volunteering if they focus their marketing efforts on younger audiences at the expense of older ones
  • There are tangible potential benefits for UK charities which invest time and resources in engaging older donors and volunteers
  • Fundraisers need to park any preconceptions about which channels are suitable for engaging older audiences and consider an integrated approach to engagement as they would with younger audiences
  • Older donors in the UK are lagging behind those in Canada and the US when it comes to giving online yet the number of older people engaging online and through mobile is increasing, which suggests significant potential for ramping up online donations from older donors for UK charities – there has recently been an 80% increase in Facebook sign-ups by people aged 55 and over

The report is based on nearly 1,500 interviews with UK donors. To qualify, respondents had to have donated money to a not-for-profit organisation or charity in the past 12 months.

Key stats from the report include:

  • The top three preferred choices for older donors are health, children and animal welfare
  • Nearly half of older donors in the UK give through direct debit but they lag a long way behind those in the US and Canada when it comes to donating goods or responding to direct mail
  • UK donors lead the way with donations through social networks and via text, but the percentages are still very small – 4.1% and 3.9% respectively
  • UK donors are not engaging with charity websites to the same degree as those in the US – 11.9% visited websites compared to 19% in the US

Businesses are only just waking up to older people as a lucrative consumer audience but many charities already have close relationships with them as donors. Those relationships could be a lot deeper and more numerous if charities invest more in integrated approaches to this audience.

The full report is available to download from here.