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make a differenceThere is one question common to all donors regardless of their age, sex, race, or socioeconomic background.

"How is my donation actually helping to make a difference?"

A study conducted by Blackbaud research group showed that fifty-five percent of Gen Y and forty-four percent of Gen X say that seeing the direct impact of their contribution has a significant bearing on their decision to donate money. Baby Boomer and the Civic generation place far less importance on tangible, visible results; however, twenty-eight percent and thirty-four percent respectively still said it would influence their decision to give money.

So what influences donating decisions?

It's charities showing donors exactly what their money is going towards. Transparency is key.

Who does this influence?

It resonates with donors from every generation, but especially those who will comprise the biggest piece of the donor pie in the next twenty years.

This is an important message that has far reaching implications.

As Gen X and Gen Y are the next generation of donors, non-profit organizations need to focus on courting the younger supporters of charity and advocacy. This means that the public sector needs to redirect its time and energy in order to clearly illustrate how a donor's contribution helps to grow a specific project, and in turn how that project has an impact on its beneficiaries.

It's been found that Gen X and Gen Y are also more likely to ask non-profits questions that are both detailed and technical, regarding return on investments (ROI) or the channels through which the money flows. They also don't take kindly to superficial answers, so be advised not to tiptoe around the real answer!

This differs from the tendency of Baby Boomers and Civics who, as studies have shown, appeal more to the emotional aspect of giving. They are far less concerned with charts and figures, focusing on the personal piece of charity.

So here's the takeaway:

  • Younger donors are less likely to give if they can't see and understand the impact of their donation
  • Younger donors are the future of charitable giving and its important to cater to their wants and needs
  • Older donors are more concerned with the emotional aspect of charity, and since they currently make up the largest group of the donor base, non-profits must recognize their preferences.
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