#128 | Are the baby boomers going to make fundraising easier in the next decade?

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Andre at a distance for the last couple of months and I am looking forward to kicking off some collaborative work together in Boston beginning next week. Andrè’s foray into fundraising began as he was building relationships as an undercover operative. Andrè now builds meaningful relationships with individuals who are making investments through their philanthropy. He explains that he used to build relationships that landed people in jail; now, with the help of his major donors, he's doing the opposite.

I was grateful for Andre’s willingness to help me frame up some of my thoughts about the effect that boomers will have on our fundraising practices in the next decade. As I shared with Andre, I believe the boomers’ expectations will be much higher than their parents’; and it is foreseeable that their gifts could be half as much and, regardless of the size of the gift, take twice as long to secure. I also believe the boomers will prove to be more confident in their giving decisions and therefore less reliant on our organizations’ notions of being the one-best-place to direct their giving. As Andre points out, the question we really have to begin wrestling with is whether we have compelling ideas and opportunities for them to consider supporting before we ask.

I think Andre is right on the money when he says we have exhausted the opportunities to honor the boomers’ parents. We have to better understand how philanthropy works for the boomers, disconnect their giving from their parents, and instead consider connecting it to their millennial children. We are also going to have to be especially careful with the vision conversations; the boomers are going to have their own vision and will want to empower us with their support to advance what’s most important to them.

This is all made especially messy when our organizations simply identify with one generation over another. Andre made the very enlightened observation that, for most of their current major donors, the Salvation Army reminds them of a Norman Rockwell painting while the rising generation of major donors are more likely to find meaning in a Pollock.

Once again, we are very grateful to OneCause for continuing to sponsor The Fundraising Talent Podcast!

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