Here's some encouraging research for fundraisers, reported at Customer Experience Matters: Women And Wealthy Are Happiest.
Here's the first part of the good news:
This shows that women are somewhat more happy than men, but more importantly, older people are happier than younger, by a margin that increases with age. (Other findings, not shown here, say that the wealthy are somewhat more happy than the rest of us, but that's not material to us fundraisers. Unless we're somehow wealthy.)
And here's why this is good news: Happy People Are More Loyal Customers.
Think about it: Our target audience is made up of people with a proclivity toward happiness, which indicates a tendency to be loyal. In fact, donor data backs this up: Donor retention increases with age. At least until around age 80, when "involuntary lapsing" (death) curtails retention.
Here's my theory: Happiness is a choice. That's a piece of wisdom it takes a long time to discover or believe, which is why it's more common among older people. People who choose to be happy are less likely to hold a grudge against a company (or nonprofit) that served them poorly. They're less likely to believe a negative rumor. More likely to assume good motives. They want to think well of you. You have to seriously screw up to change that.
So remember this: In fundraising, we're operating in a positive environment of very strong emotional health. It's more positive than may be believable to sour, cynical young people or care-burdened middle-agers. Giving feels good. Being asked feels good. Being thanked feels good. Most things are good.
That's why it works.
If you're under 60, it may be just weird and hard to believe. But that's the way it is. Fundraise into your donors' happiness. It works much better than targeting your own cynicism or worry.