Engaging younger donors in a diverse charitable landscape | Dreamscape Solutions

Engaging younger donors in a diverse charitable landscape

“…even with drops in giving, younger age groups remain the key audience for acquisition”.

The younger generation is now carrying the torch of generosity. Fundraisers and charity professionals must adapt to this shifting paradigm, understand the nuances, and stay ahead in engaging the under-40 donors who are redefining charitable giving.

The Generosity of Youth: A Beacon of Hope

Contrary to common assumptions, statistics reveal a remarkable truth – the under-40s remain more generous than their older counterparts. This generational shift is a powerful reminder that young donors are not only willing to engage with charitable causes but also eager to make a meaningful impact.

“In total for under 40s, 61% expect to take part in a charity event, compared to 31% of over 40s. While these remain challenging times, it is a positive sign to see so many people willing to get involved in fundraising events - led by younger age groups.”

A Wide Spectrum of Giving: Young Donors and Their Diverse Interests

What sets the under-40s apart is their broad spectrum of charitable interests. They give to a wide range of causes, reflecting the diversity of their passions and concerns. For fundraisers, this multifaceted generosity is a promising sign of the potential for deeper engagement.

However, with this diversity of causes comes a unique challenge. Young donors tend to be discretionary with their donations, often making decisions on the spur of the moment. This requires charities to remain front and centre in their minds, ready to capture their attention when it matters most.

Economic Resilience: The Under-40s and the Cost of Living Crisis

Another noteworthy aspect is the under-40s’ capacity to recover from the cost of living crisis. While the over-40s have been harder hit, the younger generation has recovered, often due to fewer financial constraints such as mortgages and childcare. This economic resilience translates into an opportunity for charities to engage young donors in a way that aligns with their financial stability and empowerment.

“The age groups feeling the squeeze the most are Gen X and Baby Boomers with both having 68% feeling worse off. For 65 - 80 year olds this is 58%. For the under 40s, the picture is different - 59% of Gen Z feel either the same or better off, and for Millennials this figure is 43%. The importance of younger age groups for fundraising plans is again underlined by this.”

Fundamental Strategies for Engaging Younger Donors

  1. Stay Relevant and Adaptable: Young donors appreciate relevance and flexibility. Keep your messaging current, reflecting the issues and causes that matter to them. Embrace the dynamism of social media and digital platforms to connect with this tech-savvy generation.
  2. Education and Transparency: Young donors are often socially conscious and well-informed. Provide them with in-depth insights into your organisation’s work, its impact, and how their contributions make a difference. Transparency is key.
  3. Personalised Engagement: Tailor your communication and engagement strategies to the individual interests of young donors. Use data analytics and segmentation to send messages and opportunities that resonate with them personally.
  4. Celebrate Impact: Showcase the tangible impact of their donations. Highlight stories of lives changed, communities improved, and problems solved. Make them feel like heroes of their own narratives.
  5. Collaborative Giving: Young donors often appreciate collaborative efforts. Encourage them to engage in collective action, such as peer-to-peer fundraising or partnerships with like-minded organisations.

Embracing Generational Change

For fundraisers and charity professionals, adapting to this generational shift is not just necessary; it’s a practical approach.

Recognising the generosity, diversity, and resilience of young donors is key to creating more effective connections and addressing the ever-evolving charitable landscape. By understanding their motivations and adjusting your strategies accordingly, charities can better engage with this demographic and improve long-term fundraising sustainability.


Quotes sourced from Donor Pulse Spring 2023 edition.