Which Generation Gives the Most? The Answer May Surprise You

Which Generation Gives the Most? The Answer May Surprise You
To my daughter’s great embarrassment, I try to stay hip. I listen to pop music on Z100, I watch shows on the “E” network and…come to think of it, maybe those are the only ways I try to stay hip. I need to up my game.
Even with these two markers of complete and utter hipness, I realize that I am getting to be an old fogy. Did that singer really just say what I think he said? Yuck. What in the world are the Kardashians doing – and why would anyone care? Though on Monday I had a great conversation with a young female cashier at the grocery store about the Kardashians’ business acumen. So score one for keeping up with the young’ns!
Here’s another surprise of generational hipness – Millennials (those born between 1980-1997) are more generous than we give them credit.
Mobile Cause recently came out with a report on "Charitable Giving by Generation" in 2015. You can download the infographic report right here. On the surface, there wasn’t anything too unusual, but digging a little deeper into the statistics, there were some surprises:
84% of Millennials gave to charity. Mind you, for obvious reasons, they gave less (on average $481). They represent 11% of all US giving. Other fun facts: Millennials respond best to text messages and social media – they rarely check personal emails or respond to voice mail (I personally know this – Luke: this is your mother…call me).
59% of Gen Xers (those born between 1965-1979) gave in 2015. That represents 20% of all giving with average gifts of $732. More fun facts: Gen X prefers text messages or voice calls but they also check email and social media.
72% of Boomers (born between 1946-1964) were givers in 2015. Now here you go – this represents 43% of total giving (the winners!) with average annual gifts of $1,212. Fun facts: Boomers answer voice calls, check email, and use text messaging and social media.
88% of the Greatest Generation (aka the “Matures”) dominated giving in 2015. They represented 26% of all giving. That’s pretty astounding. Their average annual gift was $1,367. Last fun facts: the Greatest Generation prefers voice calls and direct mail. Unsurprisingly, they are not hip to email, text messaging, or social media.
What are you to make of all this data?
Oh, if only it was as simple as passing the offering plate.
The truth is, you have to be aware that different generations have differing needs and desires in the realm of giving. Your responsibility is to preach about giving and stewardship and then make it easy for people to respond in ways that are authentic for them. That means, in addition to passing the plate, you need to figure out automatic recurring deductions, on-line donations (BTW, online giving increased by 9.2% in 2015 - it’s not going away), and giving via text messaging. Here are some other ideas right here.
It’s new and it’s time consuming, but don’t get overwhelmed. Develop a plan. Choose one of these and do it well and then add more. You can do this. Give yourself credit; you are way more hip than you think.
Shoot me an email and let me know how you’re reaching different generations.
PS – Congratulations to Lin-Manuel Miranda on winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama. See him perform a song from “Hamilton” at the White House here. Read my blog post about “Hamilton” here.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She swears that she only watches “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” for research purposes. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation; she is available to consult with churches in Oregon and Idaho. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.