Fundraising new school and next gen

by Jini Stolk

Gen X-ers’ attachment to the digital world has irretrievably changed the face of fundraising, according to a plethora of sources. It’s hard to keep track of all the new information and studies coming our way, and harder still to know how to adjust our fundraising strategies (to include a “cross-generational, cross-channel lifecycle plan”) in response.

Something important’s happening, that’s for sure. For the first time ever, according to UK Fundraising, 55% of donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee to help people displaced by the civil war in Syria were made on line.

Surprises abound in the next generation of giving, according to the 2013 Next Generation of Canadian Giving Study, which surveyed more than 800 Canadian donors and not only is Gen X a rising force in philanthropy, but Gen X-ers are better off in Canada than in the US or UK; both Gen X and Y have moved away from text giving, don’t use Facebook for charitable giving, and have embraced using their mobile smart phones to make donations.

Millenial donors are a unique demographic that is key to nonprofit fundraising success affirms Desi Cabrera | of Miratel Solutions Inc. : nonprofits should maintain a strong social media presence because 51% of surveyed respondents connected with causes they support through social media, 83% of these Millenials made a financial gift to a nonprofit in 2012, 75% “like, retweet or share content through their social media networks,” and they especially like “stories about successful projects or the people they help.” Many of them (65%) also receive emails or newsletters from multiple organizations, so let’s keep those cards and letters coming…

Owen Charters, Chief Development Officer of the MS Society of Canada, says in Fundraising in the Digital World that conventional fundraising wisdom still applies in the digital world but some of it needs to be turned on its head, and storytelling doesn’t count as much as we’ve been led to believe: donor-centered fundraising is what yields results.

The Next Gen Donors research project is trying to track the motivations behind the methods: the Next Gen, it says, is driven by values and cares more than anything else about demonstrated impact.

Oh yes, and your website should be radically changed (like Canada’s St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation did) to make it a great experience for donors.

It looks like there’s no getting around it: we have to do some of everything, and we have to do it all well.

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Is there anything out there that might make life easier for us fundraisers? I’m intrigued by Giftit, a kind of online yard sale. If any of your donors are downsizing – moving from a large family home to a smaller condo – this might be an alternative to lining the sidewalk with stacks of “free stuff.” Giftit allows anyone to post items or services for sale, with the proceeds going to the seller’s chosen charity. It’s free for charities to sign up and free for donors to post items online.

Charities get their own profile page listing all donated items, along with a range of promotional links to placement on their webpage, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Email. You can sign up and look at an example profile page.

Is this potentially an alternative to yard sales and/ or auctions? It seems worth a try. Reduce, reuse, recycle AND donate to charity.

Want more?
For a quick overview of social media as a fundraising tool check out this slide show by EDA Consulting.

There may still be places left in Artscape’s workshop on major gift fundraising campaigns Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM, led by Tim Jones, Artscape’s President + CEO; Leslie Najgebauer, Artscape’s Director of Development; Avon MacFarlane of the Offord Group, Artscape’s expert Fundraising Counsel; and Rudy Ruttimann, Executive Director of SKETCH.It’s at Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas Street East, Ada Slaight Hall. RSVP to by Thursday September 19th.

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