The X Factor
Yup, we know that courting Gen Y is crucial for a cradle-to-grave fundraising strategy. Thanks, Amber:)
And, yup, we know that cracking the giving habits of Boomers will literally make or break your fundraising efforts in the next decade.
But sandwiched between those two hot generational topics is the X factor. That’s right, Generation X. We got our moniker from the disenfranchised feeling we had as we came of age. As wisegeek.com (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-generation-x.html ) said, we “didn’t know where (we) belonged, but knew for sure that (we) weren’t a part of the overbearing generation of Baby Boomers.”
Well, no offense to Reality Bites, but we’ve figured it out. We’re now in our thirties and forties. On the whole, we have found our professional paths and personal partners, or decided we don’t need one. We probably have kids and are responsible for (gasp) rearing the generation that comes after Y. We’re starting to see gray (or just nothing) at our temples and many of us are perpetually trying to find the illusive work/life balance.
So how do you get us to give to your charity? We still have an ingrained dash of disaffection that can lean towards apathy if you don’t make the right ask. You have to make us care, and you have to realize that you have a very finite window for doing so since we’re perpetually overbooked. Relevancy is critical. Channel is critical.
I have yet to open direct mail. I don’t tweet, though I have a Twitter account. My friends are like family and I spend a lot of time with them on Facebook. My profession is the backbone of how I structure my day, so LinkedIn counts. I am never more than two feet from my iPhone, and I check my personal email from both it and my laptop multiple times throughout the day. I spend at least eight hours a day in front of a computer, and I know what web sites I like.
To recap: I am plugged in. Maybe I didn't have online courses or Blackboard when I went to college, but my abilities are not limited to sending forwards that includes animated GIFs. But, why am I treated like an Internet neophyte by most fundraisers?
You need to email me relevant information that includes why I care about you. Talk to me through Facebook and I’ll talk to my friends about you. Being able to monthly auto debit my donation would be bliss. My first reaction to your website should not be, "1995 called -- it wants its homepage back”. You always need to sound and feel the same way to me.
For fundraisers trying to reach me, here are some things to think about …Do you have:
- An email preference center?
- Data infrastructure to make what you know about me actionable?
- Integrated social CRM plan?
- Web site that reflects what I want to do with you?
- Mobile-friendly email and web assets?
If so, let us know. ..
Bethany is the Senior Director of Digital Strategy for Merkle's nonprofit customers. She chooses to Do What Matters because, in the words of one of her idols, Katharine Graham, “to love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?”