Fundraising Research

More about Millennials

by Rick Dunham, Founder+CEO

Here are some further findings from our study on millennial donors… some of them may surprise you!

We asked…

On a scale of 1–5, 1 being highly unlikely, do charitable organizations have a worthwhile place in society? 

In our study of the giving patterns of millennials, we wanted to understand their feelings about charitable organizations. We found that 3.4 (out of a scale of 5) millennials in the US believe that charities have a very worthwhile place in society. In the UK, the number increases to 3.5 and decreases slightly in Australia to 3.1.

It’s encouraging to see that America’s millennial counterparts in the UK and Australia believe that charitable organizations have a very important role to play in society. I believe this could mean that as they mature and have more capacity to give, we’ll see millennial giving grow in the UK and Australia.

On a scale of 1–5, 1 being highly unlikely, does direct mail generate giving?

US millennials, Gen Xers, boomers, and matures scored almost exactly the same on this question. The numbers came to 3.4 for millennials, 3.5 for Gen Xers, 3.4 for boomers, and finally, 3.6 for matures.

Direct mail as a likely vehicle to motivate a gift or response sits almost exactly the same across all generations.

When we asked the same question about email, the number actually jumped to 3.7 for millennials. This number decreases through each consecutive generation.

When it comes to email, the younger the generation the more likely emails will generate or stimulate a gift.

Surprisingly enough, we are finding that millennials are, in fact, likely to respond to direct mail simply because they don’t often receive it!

It makes you wonder if we’re beginning to come full circle on direct mail becoming a stronger tool for generating support as a result of the decrease in the number of mail pieces that people receive every day.

Think about it: inboxes today are flooded!

The phenomena we’re seeing with the amount of email in our inboxes seems to parallel what happened two decades ago with direct mail. Remember? Your mailbox was stuffed full of mail every day. Internet didn’t exist, email didn’t exist, and as a result, the primary way that you would be contacted by a charity was through direct mail.

Well, with the growth of digital communication mail has waned in terms of volume, and now I’m wondering if it’s making a comeback.

Do matching grants and other incentives motivate a gift?

Believe it or not, 72% of millennials said that a matching grant would motivate a response. Likewise, 65% of their counterparts in the UK agreed along with 47% in Australia.

We also discovered that millennial donors, in general, want to receive a monthly direct mail piece from your charity more than any other generation. Stunning!

Not only that, but a whopping 81% of millennial donors say they would expect a phone call at least once a year from the charities they support.

Let that sink in: Eight out of ten millennial donors expect a phone call from the charity they support at least once a year.

While 65% of Gen Xers said the same, 55% of boomers agreed along with 65% of matures.

My point? The majority of your donors are expecting you to contact them by phone at least once a year. And the millennials especially!

On a scale of 1–5, 1 being highly unlikely, are you more likely to give monthly or occasionally?

Across the board, we learned that donors are much more likely to be inclined to give an occasional gift versus making a monthly commitment. Monthly donors are always going to be a much smaller subset of your donor file than your occasional donors, but both behaviors are legitimate.

For further help in cracking the millennial code, check out my course Millennial Donors: They’re Not Who You Think They Are at the Dunham Institute.


More Insights from Dunham+Company: “Donor Confidence Strong in the Face of COVID-19”

Ready to take the next step? Dunham+Company is here to help your organization have more impact and establish deeper relationships with your donors and supporters. Contact Bethany Cranfield at 469-454-0100 to get more information. 

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