Stewarding the next generation of donors : understanding and engaging generation Y



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Nonprofit fundraisers tend to neglect Generation Y as a prospective target audience because they do not feel they provide a worthwhile return on investment. In reality, this age group made over $9 billion in charitable gifts in 2009, and most who made gifts expect to maintain their support in the future (Bhagat, Loeb, and Rovner 2010). Though their giving capacity ranks far behind that of the older generations that make up the majority of nonprofit donor rosters today, as the population ages, older donors will eventually vacate that position and it will be filled by younger donors as they mature in age and means. To establish strong foundations for future support within this cohort, it is important to begin building relationships with them sooner rather than later. Because Generation Y communicates and interacts in significantly different ways from their parents' and grandparents' generations, fundraisers must develop new strategies for reaching and engaging this audience to steward them into long-term giving relationships.