I had the great privilege and pleasure of seeing Penelope Burk speak recently. More than just speak, she presented the latest findings of what she’s known for: the (in this case, Canadian) Burk Donor Research Study.
When it came to this group, Burk shared that:
- They have a lower capacity to give (often due to student debt)
- When they do give, they give larger amounts to fewer organizations (younger donors believe that these gifts make a bigger difference because they keep the cost of fundraising down and the impact on the organization up)
- When they give, they are active donors; they actually want to be involved in the activities of your organization
Here’s the rub: the attitude of an active donor is being highly undervalued, and passive donors (who give with little expectation/involvement) are – forgive me for being blunt – dying out, and will likely not be giving in seven years.
What does it mean to be an active donor??? As I said before, it means these donors want to be involved. It also means they will encourage their social networks – online and offline – to get involved as well. They are influential; not in their capacity to give as much as their ability to connect others to an organization. And – this is where I might get your attention – they will have a capacity to give significant gifts soon.
As Penelope Burk said, these young people are baristas… and baristas… and baristas… until suddenly they’re CEOs! And, as my mentor Paul Nazareth added when I had a coffee with him a few weeks ago: while they’re working as a barista, they’re working on their start-up company on the side…
We cannot ignore our young constituents!
This is all I’ll say for now, but stay tuned, because in honour of the 3-year anniversary of www.whatgivesphilanthropy.com, I’ll be making an announcement on November 21st about a new initiative. I can’t wait to share it with you!
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past seven years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.