Are We Underestimating Young Donors?

Are We Underestimating Young Donors?

March 15, 2010 by jga_admin

by Ted Grossnickle

The most recent posting by my colleague Kris Kindelsperger has alerted you to a study underway by JGA and Achieve, LLC. This research has focused upon preferences and attitudes of younger donors and the results will be published in the coming weeks. If the full results support what we believe they are showing us on a preliminary basis, then there is going to be much for development and alumni professionals to consider in the near future.

For years, there has been an assumption that younger people contribute less because they have lower salaries, starting family expenses, and debt from student loans. Is this right? We are beginning to suspect that it may only be a part of the real story. Perhaps as my colleague suggests, there are other reasons. Perhaps younger people are interested and fully capable of starting as donors much earlier than most have thought, if they are engaged in new ways. Consider the impact on non profits in our world if a broader array of young donors gave? Suppose thirty or forty percent made a gift each year rather than the low – and declining – percentage that we currently see for this age group.

If this were to happen, our organizations would not only have more funding now in a very tough economy, but would also be well on their way to building a much brighter future in gifting than anyone has imagined. We have seen over the years what happens when a donor gives something each year – when they become regular donors. This is a person who is much more likely to become generous in later years – either in outright gifts or via bequest.

Stay tuned for the full survey results which will be made available in April. Please submit your contact information here to receive the results as soon as they are released. Until then, feel free to share your thoughts on the findings so far, by posting in the JGA comments section below.