WORDS // Jeff Stanger
What’s your strategy for raising money from Gen X donors? I asked that question to 200 people during a keynote in Texas a few weeks back. There were three standard looks from the crowd: blank stares, confusion or terror.
Nobody in the fundraising world is thinking about Gen X donor strategy, much less talking about it. In my “day job,” I review the curriculum for universities, fundraising associations, conferences and a variety of nonprofit vendors to determine if they qualify for continuing education credit. In nearly five years of reviewing courses, I’ve only encountered one course geared toward raising money from Gen X donors.
On any given day, you can find a workshop or course with strategies for engaging Millennials in your nonprofit’s mission. The same could be said for Boomers. Both are fine and necessary for a well-rounded development strategy, but most organizations aren’t thinking strategically about Gen X. That’s a big mistake on the part of people who offer these courses and a big opportunity for innovative organizations.
Why? Because the members of Gen X are the ones entering peak earning years (40-55). Peak earners take home nearly three times as much in income as people who are 20-24 years old. They represent a higher giving ability than Millennials and don’t have the restraints of a fixed income that Boomers/seniors face. Additionally, they are the demographic taking over the “C” suites of major corporations. They are a larger portion of the boards of foundations and other nonprofit organizations.
And most importantly, they will factor greatly into the major gift and planned gift decisions in the foreseeable future. Why? An estimated $40 trillion in wealth will be transferred over the next two decades, mostly to members of the Gen X generations.
An estimated $40 trillion in wealth will be transferred over the next two decades, mostly to members of the Gen X generations.
Do you have your Gen X donors segmented? Have you participated in any focus groups or studied market research into the buying habits, thinking patterns and giving priorities of Gen X donors? Because the bottom line is: How are you going to market your mission to the generation that grew up during the time of hair bands and the fall of the Berlin Wall?