Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers – Oh My! How Tech Has Changed the Nature of Giving
Fact: An overwhelming majority of Millennials prefer to support their favorite charities and churches by donating online rather than through direct mail. No surprise, I’m sure.
But what may surprise you is that GenXers and baby boomers are also embracing online giving.
A recent study exploring the ways people prefer to donate to their favorite charities revealed that 38 percent of Baby Boomers choose to donate through the Web, while another 15 percent use their smartphones. And 52% of GenXers support their favorite charities and religious organizations through their smartphones.
Diminishing Fear of Tech
In spite of massive data breaches that have affected household names like Target, Facebook, and Equifax in recent years, people in all generations are becoming more comfortable sharing information on the Web. As of 2016, 62 percent of Americans did most of their banking online, according to statistics shared by Bank of America.
As millennials, GenXers, and boomers alike embrace technology and get past their fears, churches and charitable organizations can take this opportunity to shift their marketing efforts and fundraising campaigns to embrace faster, easier ways to accept donations.
Direct Mail: A Waste of Stamps and Paper…or Not?
Direct mail campaigns allow too much “empty” time from the moment you launch to the time your readers decide to give. First, they have to open your mail and read it. Then, they must decide whether to make a donation immediately, set it aside for consideration, recycle it, or throw it away.
Even if they pull out their checkbook in that moment, they still have to mail the envelope. How many of us have left birthday cards, or even bills, sitting on our desk until the last minute because we forgot to put them in mail?
Direct mail offers too many potential points of failure, too many opportunities for prospective donors to change their minds, and too few opportunities for your organization to provide compelling evidence of why the direct mail recipient should make a donation.
Embrace the Era of Instant Access
As anyone who has ever made a midnight impulse purchase through Amazon can attest, having access to our money online and through our smartphones – and countless ways to spend it – encourages snap decisions and instant gratification.
We live on our phones. We consume content like streaming videos on our mobile devices. We browse our favorite social networks. Make plans with friends. Pay bills. And so much more.
If you are hosting a fundraising campaign, this can work to your advantage. Give users compelling content, an engaging and relatable story, and an easy, secure way to donate, and they are likely to send their money your way. The online donation platform GoFundMe has raised more than $5 billion from 50 million donors since 2010.
There is little doubt – technology has dramatically changed the way we give. So the question becomes, has your organization updated your donor acquisition methods?
Mobile: The Future of Giving
Rather than bemoaning the changes and challenges facing charitable organizations in the coming decade, it’s time to embrace and leverage today’s technology to help support your organization.
There are many ways contributors can donate through mobile. They can use a text-to-donate feature, give through your organization’s website, donate via Facebook or PayPal, or contribute through a charity-specific app.
The future is clear: The majority of donations will be received through mobile. As simple as that sounds, organizations need to be prepared internally with mobile-friendly, optimized content to reach audiences quickly and efficiently.
In many cases, this means video content. In 2019, more than 175.4 million people will watch video on mobile devices, according to Statista. In addition, mobile video makes up about 80 to 90 percent of content viewed across digital media channels, says an article in Forbes. As we step into the age of 5G data for smart phones, it will only get easier to watch videos on mobile while adding new levels of interactivity to programming. Internet service provider Verizon has already introduced 5G for home networks in four U.S. cities, delivering download speeds of 300 Mbps – 30 to 50 times faster than broadband.
According to Van Mylar, VP of Client Strategy and Growth at Vision40 Media, “Viewers can watch your video, learn about your organization, and click a link to donate immediately with money coming directly out of their account. They don’t have to waste time reaching for their credit card. Giving is faster and easier than ever.”
So, is your organization ready to embrace the future of charitable giving?