Watch out millennials! Mom and Dad are officially on Facebook. Maybe you don’t love your parents stalking your profile, but this news is good for nonprofits. It doesn’t stop there. A recent study by Google and Ispos found that baby boomers, defined as the generation born between 1946 and 1964, are increasingly using the internet and social networking sites to gain information and support causes they care about. Everywhere you look, nonprofits are talking about how to best reach the tech-savvy millennials or how to maintain the support of the not-so-tech-savvy seniors. However, they are leaving out one key demographic in the middle, the baby boomers! In less than five years, more than half of the U.S. population will be over the age of 50 and will control 70% of the nation’s disposable income, according to insights from Nielsen.
Here are 3 tips on how to get the biggest boom out of these key supporters:
1. Don’t doubt their online abilities!
Many organizations will count out this demographic’s ability to use technology, but research has proven this to be false. Google’s study found that 71% of baby boomers are using social networking (with Facebook as the #1 choice by far) and that many use it to follow groups/organizations, post/watch videos and support causes. This study also found that internet has become an everyday part of most boomers lives, outpacing TV and print media by a substantial margin. Online media platforms were proven to drive awareness and action to causes via website visitation, content sharing and online donations. Nonprofits hoping to market to this group should tailor digital campaigns around social networking and shareable video content. You should feel confident in the boomer’s abilities to donate from any screen, including smartphones and tablets.
2. Don’t baby them!
This generation is getting older, but don’t remind them! Using words like “elderly,” “senior” or “aged” will drive boomers away from your message, and detract from your marketing efforts. Positive messaging and digital marketing that acknowledges their online presence will help to show baby boomers that they are respected and valued. Google’s study found that some of the motivations driving baby boomers include staying active, learning new things and feeling productive. Nonprofits should reflect this in their marketing by educating boomers (they love to watch YouTube videos), and then showing them how their gift or involvement will directly benefit the cause.
3. Personalize, and follow through!
Don’t forget, this is the “me” generation. They require some special attention. Boomers like to see results, so be sure to give feedback in the form of “thank you” messages or progress measures when contacting these supporters. It’s also important to take note of your design. Be simple and straightforward, especially in your digital marketing. Complicated online forms or web pages with too much info will push them away. Try using a throwback font, or themes that were popular when these supporters were younger, this will make your messages feel more genuinely personal and less digital. Bottom line: make sure your message is easy to read, and when possible, as personalized as it can be.
Baby boomers should not be overlooked by any nonprofits, especially those with digital marketing efforts. Blackbaud recently conducted their Next Generation of American Giving study that examined multichannel preferences and charitable habits of different age groups, including baby boomers, and found that while this group only makes up 34% of the pool of donors, they give 43% of all money contributed by individuals, making them the dominant source of individual donations to nonprofits. This study also found that 42% of baby boomers reported making an online donation to a nonprofit (that’s more than those who gave through the mail). Google found that 62% of boomers and seniors currently participate in a cause or movement. These numbers are too significant to ignore, and this generations increasing abilities online represent a great opportunity for nonprofits to reach a solid group of supporters that are willing (and able) to help. Don’t count this group out, they’re on Facebook, they’re on smartphones, and they’re looking to be a part of something good. Make that millennial jealous (or relieved) that Mom and Dad are stalking (and fully engaged with) your nonprofit’s Facebook page now instead of them.
You can find the full text of studies mentioned above here: