Marc, a few points of disagreement:
- Younger donors are the unicorns of fundraising — largely mythical beasts. The truth is that as we age, we become more altruistic. It’s no surprise that our donors are older — they’ve gotten to the age where giving is a bigger priority. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t look for ways to engage younger people — and meet them where they are. But they’re not going to be the bulk of the donor base for the majority of organizations. They’ll age into it, though, and if they’ve been involved in some way, your organization may be more likely to be where they turn to give.
- The death of direct mail has been proclaimed for so long. And it refuses to die! The truth about its effectiveness may be masked because people who give online are often driven there via direct mail. Who gets the credit? A couple of piece you might find interesting: Why is direct mail seeing a resurgence?, and Why direct mail won’t die. Again, this is not to suggest we ignore digital communications. The point is we need both. Email is growing fast —at some point, it may exceed direct mail. But it’s not there yet at all, and it would be foolish to toss aside a direct mail program to move to digital only. (See what happened to American Cancer Society when they ditched their direct mail acquisition program.) DM’s response rates are getting lower —but they’re still much better than email!
I completely agree, however, that too many organizations are not preparing to meet tomorrow’s donors where they are. Giving online is still a clunky business for most. Good fundraising database systems are out there, but not used enough. If we want to be around for the next generation, our organizations will need to invest now to be ready.
Thanks for a thought-provoking article!