Relationship-building and fundraising go hand-in-hand. And like any good relationship, you need a solid foundation to build upon. It’s one thing to know the basic demographic (age, location) information of your supporters, but what additional insight does that demographic information hold?

The 2018 Next Generation of American Giving report by The Blackbaud Institute goes in-depth into generational giving trends and multichannel preferences to explore how life stage and the unique outlook of each generation shape people as givers.

This report offers a unique way for fundraisers to learn about their donors and to reflect on the messages and channels they’re using to connect with their audiences. But more than data, the report offers recommendations to guide a successful fundraising strategy.

Here are 3 recommendations from The Next Generation of American Giving

1. Focus on the generations that matter today:

It’s important to understand the generations that currently offer the biggest giving opportunity. The information in this report sheds a light on the current largest giving groups, the giving groups that are on deck to become more significant donors, and what to keep in mind about lifestyle factors of younger generations. Of course, the makeup of your organization’s audience and those you serve could differ from these broad trends, but it’s important to understand which groups are likely to give now and which ones are a better fit for long-term stewardship.

2.  Stay agile:

With so many factors that go into fundraising strategies, it’s unlikely that everything will go according to plan 100% of the time. It’s okay to pivot and to readjust when needed. Understanding that something isn’t working is still knowledge gained. This can be especially true for engagement – with so many options, it can be difficult to track what truly resonates with your donors. Continue testing, and know that shifting your strategy bring you a step closer to success each time.

3. Redouble your focus on the fundamentals:

As stated in the report, “fundraising is not mining or hunting; it’s farming.” Ultimately, the success of your fundraising strategy relies on the relationships you create with potential and current donors. Understanding donor needs and reacting appropriately will build meaningful relationships, and with them more loyal donors.


To dive deeper into these generational trends and get even more recommendations, download the report.