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Young vs Older Donors: Who is More Generous?

Are You Asking Enough?

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Young vs Older Donors: Who is More Generous?

Surprisingly to many, younger donors give about as much as older donors. According to a recent study by Campbell & Company at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, donors across all generations give roughly the same amount to charity even when controlled for factors such as income, education and religiosity.

The study looked at more than 10,000 people across five generations and their giving trends. Here are some of the highlights of the results:

  • Members of the Millennial generation are more likely than any other generation to cite the "desire to make the world a better place to live" as a key motivator for their philanthropic giving.
  • Members of the Silent generation (born between 1929 and 1945) are more likely to cite "need to provide services that the government can't or won't" as one of their most important motivations for giving.
  • Individuals in all generations who attend religious services at least once a year are more likely than those who never attend to support both religious and secular organizations. (Overall, younger people and Baby Boomers give less to religion than do older generations.)

The researchers suggest that younger people are more likely to respond positively to messages that focus on the global impact of an organization's work, while older donors are more likely to give to groups that highlight services they provide that the government does not.

The biggest take-away from this research, however, is that nonprofits should ask more of young donors. The researchers say, "...organizations shouldn't underestimate younger donors, as the study shows they are just as generous as other donors.

"Young people are willing to give larger amounts, but they won’t if they’re under-asked. A lot of Millennials can easily give $100, but in our experience, organizations are only asking them for $25 or $50 gifts."

Request a copy of the full study at www.campbellcompany.com.

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