Philanthropy beat: Baby boomers donate more to charities than any other generation

 

Baby boomers donate more money to charities and nonprofits than any other generational group in this country, a study has found.

Boomers account for 43 percent of charitable giving while making up about one-third of the population, according to a study commissioned by Blackbaud Inc., a South Carolina-based company that specializes in nonprofit software and services.

Boomers, those people ages 49 to 67, not only dominate philanthropy today but will do so in the future, the report said.

“Baby boomers are now the dominant source of income for most nonprofits,” said Mark Rovner, the author of the report and a founder of the nonprofit consulting firm Sea Change Strategies in Washington, D.C.

The report divides donors into four generations and compares their interest and giving habits. It found that 72 percent of boomers donated an average of $1,212 to charities last year. By comparison, 59 percent of Generation X — folks age 33 to 48 — gave an average of $732.

Meanwhile, 88 percent of the oldest Americans donated to charities, an average of $1,367 (their giving accounted for 26 percent of the total). Sixty percent of the youngest Americans donated an average of $481.

While many nonprofits are pursuing younger donors, whom the study refers to as Generation X and Generation Y, it’s critical not to write off their parents and grandparents. Boomers, plus the “mature” generation before them, account for nearly 70 percent of the estimated total annual donations, the study found.

“What this report tells us is the baby boomers should be a primary focus [of fundraising], while you are focusing on the up and coming generation,” said Melanie Mathos, spokeswoman for Blackbaud.

“Finding that right mix is really key,” she said. “For example, don’t forgo direct mail to reach out to Generation X, because the matures and the baby boomers still rely on it.”

The report, titled “The Next Generation of American Giving’’ also has an interactive information graphic. Go to www.blackbaud.com/nextgen.

 

Jean Hopfensperger 612 673-4511

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