Monday, June 5th, 2006 | 11:22 pm | Administrator

The charity drain

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Those of us in the fundraising field know that there is a big difference between donors of the Baby Boomer generation and those from Generations X and Y. Younger donors are a tougher sale and expect more performance from charities.

This great article from the Baltimore Sun outlines this phenomena nicely. The article cites an Indiana University study that showed Generation Xers gave at a rate of 53% while Boomers and pre-WWII households gave at 75% and 80% respectively.

This is a stunning difference and marks a clear change in attitudes toward philanthropy between the ages.

This Sun article explores the many ways charities are working to encourage philanthropy and volunteerism amongst our young. The basic premise is that humans are inherently charitable beings and that our instinct is to help others in need. But, as with the Gen Xers and Gen Yers, this turn toward the good can quickly be turned off if charities do not pay enough attention. Another study cited in the article showed that 18-month old infants had the instinct to help pick-up a book that was accidentally dropped by a passing adult; however, when the adult pretended to slam a book down, none of the infants in the study made a move to lend a helping hand. Very very interesting.

So, a note to nonprofits and charities out there: Donors are all born nice and with charity in their hearts…just don’t lose their trust or piss them off because the tap can quickly run dry.

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