Your grandma is on Facebook: Is it time to reassess how we target older donors?

“My older donors are direct mail donors, and I wouldn’t want to mess with that.” Our association with older donors and direct mail is one of the most adamantly held beliefs in the fundraising space. Our need to ardently defend our older donors from the attacks of audacious email campaigns or heaven forbid social media targeting is common practice.

I would like to challenge fundraisers to reflect on this belief system and ask themselves – why?

Challenge Conventional Wisdom 

Several trends in the fundraising space should be framing our thinking on our older donors:

In a study conducted with 300 Australian donors, 45% specifically stated they would prefer to be solicited online.

Those over the age of 65 are increasingly making their digital presence known. So why are we not targeting them on this channel?

If you are not investing in digital, you are missing out.  

We are not suggesting stopping direct mail, there will always be a substantial group of donors who prefer this giving channel.

What we are suggesting is to test the commonly held beliefs about your donors to better understand their behaviours. We recommend including a portion of your over 65 donors in your next digital outreach and test their giving practices alongside younger donors and the over 65 donors who only receive direct mail. We also advocate asking your donors what they want, when was the last time you reached out to your direct mail donors to confirm this was their giving channel of choice? Potentially you are spending $5 to acquire a gift when you could be spending $0.02 while improving donor experience.

By excluding your older donors from email, social media, and even SMS targeting you are potentially preventing a donor from giving on their channel of choice.

If you’d like to discuss how you can enhance and diversify your fundraising outreach with older donors, contact us today.