As far as fundraisers are concerned, the future began January 1, 2006.
I realize the bogus coefficient of that statement is potentially high. But that date is significant because it's the official beginning of the Boomer Generation. That's the generation that habitually transforms everything it touches: Pop culture, politics, family life, business ...
And, now that they're getting older, fundraising.
Every day starting 1/1/06 more than 7,000 Boomers turn 60 in the US. (The phenomenon is similar in all Western countries and exists to a lesser extent throughout the world.)
Beside being the most numerous generation in the US before or since, the Boomers have shown a number of characteristics that matter a lot to us fundraisers:
- They're more cynical.
- They're used to having it their way as consumers.
- They're extremely hands-on.
- They're the first online savvy generation.
- They're wealthier, more ethnically diverse, and will live longer than previous generations.
Fundraising as we know it was designed to work with Boomers' parents and grandparents. The techniques and approaches we know today may or may not work with Boomers.
Now the Boomers' parents are still around. They still dominate the ranks of most donorfiles. But they're shrinking and the Boomers are growing.
Depending on your cause and the ways you've been acquiring donors, you may have already seen major or little change in what works. Whether your change is fast or slow, assume change is happening. Already.
We've had going on four years to figure out the Boomers. What have we learned?