Generational Differences in Charitable Giving and in Motivations for Giving

This paper sets out to better understand charitable giving. In general, we hope to distinguish characteristics of future donors to assist organizations in framing appropriate fundraising messages.
More specifically, we are interested in whether differences in giving exist due to age, and we have grouped respondents into standard generational categories. For our purposes, these categories are:

  • Great: Born before 1929 (used in some analyses here but not all)
  • Silent: Born 1929 to 1945
  • Boomer: Born 1946 to 1963
  • X: Born 1964 to 1981
  • Millennial: Born since 1981

Further, we investigate what underlying motivations lead people to give to charitable organizations, and whether those motivations vary by generational cohort. By understanding what characterizes groups of potential donors and what motivates those donors to give, organizations can attempt to maximize giving by reaching out to specific individuals with more appropriate messages.

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Sarah Barnes

As an Online Fundraising Consultant, Sarah Barnes works with organizations to optimize their online presence through analyzing data that ultimately reveals strategies for the future. In her work with clients, Sarah most values opportunities to review and assess online data from multiple channels such as an organization’s website, social media channels and email marketing initiatives, to inform decisions, as well as working closely with organizations to brainstorm and identify and optimize strategic online fundraising initiatives.