Generational Giving:
What is it, and why it is valuable

Did you know how you engage with your donors makes a difference based on the generation they are from? In this and in the next few issues of Board Notes we’ll explore Generational Giving and how you can deepen your relationship with donors by understanding how they make their decisions and what is their motive behind their donations or volunteer time. 

Understanding why people give and what causes or programs they care about allows you to adjust your marketing strategies, targeting specific groups in order to raise more funds and advocate for specific causes, matching the right cause or program to the appropriate donor. 

It might come as a surprise to know different generations have different cultures, values and different ways of engaging in philanthropy. Successful charitable organizations understand this and are strategic and savvy about the approach they use for each generation. What may be appealing to one, can in fact be off-putting to another. Learning about each can help charities be more inclusive and effective in their fundraising efforts. 

While it is beneficial to research and incorporate a generational giving into your non profits funding and engagement strategy, it’s also important to understand it’s also important to differentiate generational giving to donor’s life stages. For example some older people are able to give larger sums to charity simply because they are no longer paying on homes or putting children through college. They also may be at the peak of their earning potential. Conversely, a young person with a high income, and no ties to home or children may also be quite generous to their favorite charity. 

Regardless of whether you dive into understanding generational giving or life stages, the benefits to your funding cycle can be significant. In the next issue of Board Notes, we will differentiate the different cultural giving tendencies among the various generations.

Why Research Generational Giving?


  • It provides insight on core generational values
  • It helps with understanding the different types of giving trends for each generation


  • Use generational data to increase donations
  • Use the research to target your marketing to different generations
  • Use the data to increase volunteer hours
  • Adjust your marketing messages