Focus on this group of donors for fundraising success

If you’re a fellow Canadian, you likely spotted this big headline last week:

Seniors now outnumber young people in Canada.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as demographers have been projecting this shift for years. And this trend isn’t unique to Canada – the UN forecasts that the number of people in the world aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 56 per cent by 2030.

How are you and your organization working to increase gifts from our generous and growing population of older donors? Here are some of my favourite tips.

Choose senior friendly channels

If my Mom is anyone to go by, it seems seniors are online in ever increasing numbers.

She’s on Facebook, has an iPad she totes around everywhere with her, loves to FaceTime with the grandkids, and is a world champ at Word with Friends (a game in which she crushes her daughter with alarming frequency…)

The numbers back this up – a recent study indicates that older donors are increasingly giving online. In fact, donors 75 and older gave more online gifts than all other generations in the past 12 months.

And no, this still doesn’t mean direct mail is dead – far from it. The same study indicates that direct mail motivated an increasing number of donors to give online last year.

Think about print accessibility

Speaking of direct mail, let’s talk about print accessibility – something that’s important for all donors, regardless of age.

Here are some great, easy to implement tips from CNIB Canada to make your print materials as clear and readable as possible for all people with vision loss, including seniors:

  • Create contrast: use high contrast colour for type and background. Print is most readable in black type on a white background - if you’re using coloured text, restrict it to headlines, titles, and highlighted material.

  • Bigger is better: keep your text large, preferable between 12 and 18 points, depending on the font. Avoid complicated or decorative fonts, and choose one with easy to recognize upper and lowercase characters.

  • Give ‘em space: leading (the space between lines of text) should be at least 25 to 30 per cent of the point size. This helps readers move their eyes more easily to the next line of text. Lots of white space, and shorter paragraphs will also make for an easier read - for everyone.

Stop worrying so much about millennials!

One of my favourite blog posts of the past year comes from Sean Triner, who asks “What’s the best way to get donations from under 40s?”

The answer?

Wait until they are over 40.

While there is nothing wrong with millennial engagement, it mustn’t come at the expense of your fundraising efforts with older donors – including Boomers, and Gen X (though I shudder to put the words old and Gen X in the same sentence, my generation’s elders are into their 50s at this point!)

I hope these tips help you focus on those folks who are giving most regularly and most generously – your older donors. If you have any additional ideas to share with other readers, please leave a comment, and share your thoughts below!

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