Generational Giving: How To Target Different Generations of Donors

Generational donors
How do demographics like gender and age affect giving? 

A study done in 2018 analyzed charitable giving across generations. People are complex, and age is only one part of the pie that makes up their belief and value system, along with factors like gender, race, and location should also be considered. However, the Next Generation of Giving study did trends within each age group and they even have preferences in the types of charities they donate to. 
Collecting data on your current donors is the best way to predict giving habits but looking into the habits and values of each generation is a good place to start. Each age group has lived through pivotal moments in history that shapes their outlook on the world that could affect how they view philanthropy. 

From the Matures to Gen Z, each generation has gone through their own challenges and experiences that influence their values, perspective and giving habits. 

Post-war baby boomers who grew up in the ’60s experienced the first moon-landing, the assassination of JFK and Martin Luther King are going to have a different outlook than Millennials who were the first digital natives and began their careers during the 2008 market crash. 

While it is possible these two generations share the same beliefs and values, the reasoning behind those thoughts could be very different. 

Generational Giving Breakdown

Information  from the Generation of Giving Study

The Matures- Born Before 1946
26% of all giving is from Matures
88% of the Mature population gives to charities
The average gift is about $1,400
They are most interested in emergency relief, the arts, and election campaigns

Baby Boomers 1946-1964
Baby bgenoomers make up 43% of all giving
72% of their population supports charities
They have an average gift of $1,200
They prefer to support health services and first responders and highly value financial accountability

Gen X 1965-1980
They make up 20% of all charitable giving
59% of this generation give to charities
Have an average gift of $700
Like to support health services, animal rights, and environmental protection

Millennials 1981-2000
Contribute 11% of all charitable giving
84% of this generation give
Have an average gift of $400
Prefer to support human rights, child development, victims of abuse/crime

Gen Z born in the year 2000 onward
30% already have donated to a charity
60% want the work they do to make a difference
And 1 in 10 want to start a charity!

What About Gender?  

So it’s not just a person’s gender but also their marital status that affects what organizations they choose to donate to. Single women prefer to give to nonprofits centred around arts and the environment while single men like to support combination organizations like the United Way. Out of the two, single women are more likely to donate their money and are also known to give bigger donations than men. 

Studies show that families also have different giving patterns depending on which parent makes most of the family’s decisions. Female leading homes tend to give more and give less to basic need organizations. Studies show that although there are some patterns, age is another factor in how people choose to give. 

So How Accurate Are These Statistics? 

Although each generation has its own unique preferences there are still plenty of factors to consider like people’s online habits. Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z are all generations that have similar online habits. Because of this, they all prefer to be reached through online giving platforms like donation pages. 

But traditional methods still work too, 60-80% of fundraising revenue is coming from direct mail. It may seem like an older way to reach donors, but it works! USPS reports that 37% of donors cite direct mail as the reason they gave. So what can you do to maximize revenue for your organization? 

Have Multi-Channel Campaigns 

So clearly each generation has their preferences and prefers different types of mediums, your nonprofit can take advantage of this by having multi-channel campaigns. By taking advantage of your email list, social media and website you’re increasing the chances of people finding and donating to your cause. And this method works, according to NextAfter multi-channel campaigns can increase your conversion rate by 204%!

Segment Your Data

We have a great article on segmentation but to sum up, segmentation is important to get a specific message to a specific group of people. By segmenting your donors you are looking not only at demographics like gender and age but also gift size, content consumption habits and preferred method of giving. 

Segmentation is a great way to build a personal relationship with your donors by showing them you value their interests and time. 

Always Keep your Strategy Donor Centric

Donors at the end of the day are people, and as we all know people are complex and are more than just a number or email on a list. Everyone has their own unique interests and these demographics are a good place to start but you should always aim to learn more about you donors' hobbies and interests for better results. 

Generational giving stats can help point us in the right direction, but listening to our donors and giving them options for personalized engagement is key to success. Think about how your organization is engaging supporters, and how you can leverage your tools to create more personalized experiences at scale.

New Generation of Giving 

Gen Z is a whole new generation of donors and they have different giving preferences than the other generations. Like millennials, they also care deeply about social issues and the environment but Gen Z has a greater emphasis on authenticity in brands and organizations. 

They are also digital wizards, having grown up with the internet and swiping before they coils walk, Gen Z thrived on mobile. So try looking into new platforms like Tiktok and Twitch to grow awareness among younger donors and focus on your story and being true to your brand. 


Even with studies and stats, it’s important to look within your own data to find the most accurate representation of your donor’s giving habits. You need a robust giving platform to help test and track your campaigns to see what resonates best with your donors. 

All generations of donors have preferences, experiences and needs that motivate their giving and change how they see your organization. Look at the trends and follow what is interesting to them. To learn how to test effectively reach out to us at


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By Sabrina Sciscente (RA) on Apr 30, 2021, 12:00 AM

Donor Relations

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