I have an ageing database – what can I do?

Celebrate! Because it’s the Matures, Baby Boomers and now Generation X that drive charitable giving.

By Dearne Cameron, CEO, Pareto Fundraising

Interestingly, this is a question that I have been asked on occasion by fundraisers who worry they should be targeting the younger, more exciting Millennial. They wonder if using strategies that suit older donors is damaging their ‘brand’.

But let’s consider Baby Boomers alone. They make up less than a quarter of Australia’s population but:

– CONTROL more than half of Australia’s wealth

– HAVE the greatest buying power of any generation

– OUT-SPEND every other generation in every category globally

– GIVE more time, talent and money than any other generation

– MAKE over half of all donations to charity and make the highest average donation.

And according to Pareto Benchmarking 2018, the average age of a cash donor is 64 years old (Baby Boomer) and for a regular giver, it’s 47 years old (Generation X).

So as a fundraiser, don’t turn your back on older generations in pursuit of the younger, shinier Millennial – a generation that represents just 11% of all dollars given by individuals to charity.

Don’t get me wrong. Millennials are great – and their giving will increase as they age. But right now – if you’re focused on building a regular giving, middle and major donor giving and bequest stream – stick with your biggest opportunity for financial growth over the next decade or two – the older generations.

But that also doesn’t mean you should ignore Millennials. As they age they will want to give differently and it will change how you do your fundraising. So it’s good to pay attention to them, understand what their needs are and invest carefully and strategically for the long-term.

But don’t do that at the expense of the donors that give the most to you now and will do so for years to come – the older generations.

So when should you go after the younger donor?

– When you have exhausted your recruitment of older donors – and their slightly younger friends

– When you have excelled at smart, multi-channel donor-loving fundraising

– When you have a great mid and high-value donor program

– When you have an excellent bequest program

– When you have established a sustainer/monthly/regular giving program.


– Having younger donors is critical to your mission.

Only then … think about going after young people.

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