CLA workshop, “Baby Boomer Breakthrough: The New Fundraising Model”

Leverage donors with the greatest economic clout and biggest motivation to give in history

The French have a saying: “It is the fate of all glass to break.”

As I’ve researched the Baby Boomers over the last decade, I believe it’s their collective fate to make the world a better place for everyone…before they leave. That’s what drives the Boomer generation today.

Yes, the Boomers are spoiled rotten. They’re self-absorbed, a highly distracted moving target.

But they’re the largest, healthiest, wealthiest, best-educated adult generation in U.S. history. Boomers own 80% of all wealth and 70% of all disposable income in the nation. They spend more money than any other generation. (They actually spend more online than any generation!)

They’re more than twice as large a group as all the elder generations that gave faithfully through direct mail in the last century, when results were at an all-time high.

More important, they give more money than any other generation. Boomers give half of all dollars donated to charity today. And, their giving is growing faster each year when compared to all other generations.

That’s why the Boomers are our biggest opportunity for growth over the next two decades.

“Charities looking to bolster their fundraising efforts should focus their attention on the Baby Boomers, from whom the bulk of money will come…”  (Forbes Magazine, August 12, 2013)

Boomers are coming together to be bold and consequential

More and more, as the Baby Boomers enter their final life stage, it looks like they’re coming together — as they did in the 1960s — to solve the significant issues of our time.

And the key reason they’re getting serious about facing up to society’s biggest challenges is so their children and grandchildren won’t be left with a really big mess.

As the Boomers come of age, it is absolutely critical that non-profit organizations reengineer their donor engagement approaches. Why? Because Boomer attitudes and behaviors “have always been markedly different from their elders,” says a study from Wheaton University Graduate School.

They’re not their parents. In fact, across each life stage, Boomers rejected the status quo as they reinvented technology, culture, politics, the entire social scene. And, they’ll more than likely reinvent philanthropy.

“Christian Baby Boomers will not respond to the appeals which activated earlier generations. Some real changes are required…in thinking and strategy,” the Wheaton study concludes.

The Baby Boomer era in fundraising: Our biggest opportunity for growth over the next two decades

Baby Boomers are fundraising’s biggest stars — dizzy with aspirations to have a profound and permanent effect on the world. To ignore their economic clout is suicide.

But how do we activate a generation that has consistently done things differently from their direct-mail-loving parents? How should we be engaging the Baby Boomers in order to create faster, better and more sustainable revenue? Opportunity is knocking…

To hear more about these next-gen approaches that will work for all the next gens — Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, contact me at

Even as the Boomers are hoping to change the world for their children and grandchildren, they’re hoping that the Millennials will do a better job of running the world than the Boomers have.

But first, the Millennials will have to move out of their Boomer parents’ basements!