What does it mean to give back? For most people, I’d say it depends on who you’re asking the question at and when they were born. Throughout the generations who give back to their community and their favorite nonprofits, each generation thinks and gives differently. According to Hartnett and Matan “Nearly 60% of Gen Ys and 50% of Gen Xers want to see directly the impact of their donations, while just 37% of Baby Boomers say seeing a direct impact matters to them.”
However the question remains: how do we bridge the generational gap of giving between Baby Boomers and Generation Y (or Millennials) and really connect with younger donors?
It is also reported by Harnett and Matan that “…45% of Boomers say their financial contribution is key, only 36% of Gex Xers and 25% of Gen Ys think that what matters most is a difference made of money. Instead, they believe that volunteering and spreading the word is more impactful”. While Baby Boomers and Generation Xers will not be around forever, it has become an important task in creating relationships between nonprofits and Millennials in continuing to find new ways to engage with younger donors.
While Generation Y only represents a small percentage of giving, they do represent the largest percentage of media usage. Numerous social media platforms exist on the internet bringing in users all over the world to share their thoughts, pictures, and connect with old friends. Software company, Blackbaud (see full interactive report here) says, 90% of social media usage is on Facebook and a whopping 97% is surprisingly on YouTube, with LinkedIn and Twitter in last. Generation X does not fall far behind Millennials in the category of social media as well. They also spend most of their time on YouTube at 92%, Facebook at 77%, and LinkedIn at 57% according to Blackbaud. All in all, Generation Y and X are more likely to give back through social media and learn more about new nonprofits through shared posts and videos, while Baby Boomers give back more through direct mail and organization’s websites.
What does this mean for philanthropy and nonprofits? Essentially, this means social media will become and already plays a huge role in giving back. Whether you are a small nonprofit just getting started or a large established nonprofit, social media is key in educating and connecting with new young donors as we begin to see more Millennials following in the footsteps of their charitable parents and grandparents.
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