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Gen X A Rising Force In Canadian Philanthropy; Boomers And Civics Most Generous

Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) and hjc today released findings from their 2013 Next Generation of Canadian Giving study that uncovers the preferred giving and communication channels of four generations of Canadian donors: Generation Y (18-32); Generation X (33-48); Baby Boomers (49-67); and Civics (68+).

Among the study’s findings: Gen X is a rising force in philanthropy in Canada — quickly gaining on Boomers and Civics, the most generous generations. The study, which builds on a similar study conducted in 2010, is based on a major national survey of more than 800 Canadian donors, commissioned by Blackbaud, and produced by hjc, Edge Research and SeaChange Strategies.

“It is critical for nonprofits to address each generation so that they can attract and retain new donors without compromising revenue from their existing donor base,” said Michael Johnston, founder and president of hjc. “This study provides both strategic and practical guidance for fundraisers by demonstrating how Canadian donors in different age segments want to be communicated with and how they typically respond.”

Additional key findings of the study include:

  • Gen X is giving in high numbers and is an important generation to watch.
  • Multichannel is the new normal. While all generations are multi-channel in their communications habits, the ideal mix varies from generation to generation.
  • Direct mail is far from dead, but it also won’t last forever. Gen Y and X are far more likely to give online, and as many Baby Boomers say they give online as via direct mail.
  • Generation Y has distinct priorities and preferences with regard to causes they support. Notably, they are far more likely to demand accountability and transparency than older donors.
  • The value of some channels, e.g. social media, is undervalued if measured by transaction, as opposed to engagement, metrics.

Differences between Canadian and United States donors

Because the study was based on similar studies into the habits and preferences of American donors, it also provides insight into the differences between Canadian donors and their American counterparts. For example, support for advocacy organizations in the U.S. is almost double that in Canada, and support for military troops/veteran organisations is about three times greater in the U.S. However, Canadians are far more likely to support health and children’s charities than their American counterparts.

“The way supporters in both the U.S. and Canada give and interact with nonprofits continues to evolve,” said Dennis McCarthy, vice president of strategy for Target Analytics, a division of Blackbaud. “It serves as a reminder that, as fundraisers, we need to establish an integrated suite of tools and channels to engage people across multiple generations now and start planning for the future.”

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