Are You Neglecting Generation X?

nonprofit strategy

There seems to be a lot of chatter in the nonprofit space about Millennials and Baby Boomers as of late.

Yet, there’s almost never any spotlight on Generation X – the often-forgotten group of important supporters between the ages of 35 and 50 years old.

As nonprofits firm up end-of-year giving campaign strategies this coming holiday season, many will gloss over these 66 million Americans or, in some cases, lump them in with the Boomers, as they work their way to courting Millennials.

However, as the first generation to start the precedent of donating online, as well as the segment that helped pioneer email, web design and online advocacy, I believe ignoring Generation X is a major mistake.

Even though this generation is smaller than the other segments, they still commonly exercise a major amount of influence and economic power, as well as a strong desire to give.


Let’s Take a Peek at the Numbers

A recent survey found that approximately 67 percent of Generation X use laptops on a daily basis, versus 58 percent of Millennials. It also revealed that the majority of Generation X use a smartphone and regularly shop, bank, research and read online.

Keep in mind, this is also a generation ready and willing to give if the cause is right. Nonprofit Tech recently reported that Gen X tends to give twice as much to charity as Millennials. Furthermore, it stated that Gen Xers volunteer at greater rates than other generations.

And, I’m not alone in my opinion. A recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article noted that giving experts are suggesting that today’s charities are simply not “paying enough attention to Gen X.”


Don’t Ignore the Middle Child

The fact of the matter is that Gen Xers are increasingly building wealth, generously donating their money, volunteering their time to causes that matter to them, and are likely to be taking leadership positions at many organizations worldwide.

With this in mind, we encourage our clients to realize that it doesn’t matter if Gen Xers are actually giving to their organizations right now. More importantly, it’s whether charities are taking the time to invest in this important generation now as they truly are the givers of tomorrow.

How can this be accomplished? Cultivation methods can come in the form of recruiting Gen Xers into your organization’s fold as either advocates or activists via: volunteering their personal time; clicking on your nonprofit’s website; getting them onboard with your mission; or, simply adding their name to your latest petition.


Be Strategic and Tell Your Story

With busy careers and families, Gen X is known for having very little free time. So, find them where they are – on their laptops or mobile devices – and they’re more likely to give. This also means mobile optimizing all digital communications, as Gen X is most likely to access their inboxes on a smartphone or tablet.

Another approach is to ask them to help your organization via peer-to-peer campaigns, or fundraising online via social media. Gen Xers now have significant online networks that go well beyond friends, family and neighbors that include business colleagues, personal contacts and more.

Finally, while Gen X tends to give generously, industry experts suggest they still have a tendency towards indifference and skepticism. In an effort to change this perception, carefully craft a powerful story about your nonprofit to help them care. Always let them know why they should give and how their giving has an immediate impact.


The Bottom Line

Gen Xers are starting to enter their peak giving years, and today’s nonprofit fundraisers would be wise to pay more attention to how they give and why. So, don’t discount the power of Gen Xers when it comes to your cause.


On average, new IPM clients see a 34.8% increase in direct mail fundraising acquisition response rates within the first year of working with us. Want to learn more?

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