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Apr 25, 2024

Top 5 Mistakes: #3 Chasing Younger Donors

Young girl holding piggy bank

I have been analyzing the fundraising business for nearly three decades and over the years I keep seeing nonprofit organizations making the same mistakes. These errors hold organizations back.

If you are new to fundraising, please commit yourself to avoiding these five errors. Your organization probably won’t thank you. But you and I will both know that you are secretly saving your organization.

Number 3: Chasing Younger Donors.

If I had to guess, the median age of the donors on your database is between 65 and 70-years old, and the median age of a new donor is probably between 60-65 years old.

When organizations hear this, they worry that their donor database is going to “eternally lapse” (AKA die off). So, the knee-jerk reaction is they must focus on acquiring “younger donors”.

If your organization is considering such a mandate, may I have a word . . .

First, in our culture, most people don’t consider philanthropy until they are empty nesters. And in our country, according to the US Census, the average age of an empty nester is 55 years old. So, trying to target donors under this age is going to be a challenge . . . and very expensive.

In addition, the life expectancy for a 70-year-old today is 15-more years (that means half of all those who are 70 today will make it to 85). There is a lot of LTV (value) left in a 70-year old donor.

So, to quote Bobby McFarrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Older donors are the best donors.

Little girl holding a piggy bank, Image by brgfx on Freepik

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