Fundraiser engagement with older people

Charities could be missing out on donations by not engaging with older people through online and mobile channels, according to new research.

A report, entitled Time for UK Fundraising to Look Up, published by the agencies Xtraordinary Fundraising and Forster Communication and fundraising software company Blackbaud, looks at the giving habits of ‘baby boomers’, those born between 1946 and 1964, and ‘civics’, born before 1945. It concludes charities are not considering the full potential of older donors because they are too focused on ways to engage younger people.

The report is based on interviews with 1,498 UK donors and compares their giving habits to their peers in the US and Canada. Researchers carried out an online survey of 809 older Canadian donors and of 1,014 US donors.

Fundraisers that want to engage with older people more effectively need to look beyond traditional channels used for reaching this age group, such as direct mail, the report states.

The report shows older UK donors are behind those in Canada and the US when it comes to giving online, with 17.4 percent of older UK donors give online, compared to 31 percent of their peers in Canada and 27 percent in the US.

Older UK donors are also not engaging with charity websites to the same extent as those in the US, with only 11.9 percent visit sites in the UK, compared to 19 percent in the US. This suggests there is significant potential for charities to ramp up online donations from older UK donors, the report states.

However the UK is ahead of North America when it comes to donations made via mobile and social media. The report shows 4.1 percent of older UK donors give through social media networks, including Facebook, compared to two percent in Canada and one per cent in the US. It shows 3.9 percent of older donors in the UK give by text message compared to none of those surveyed in Canada and two percent in the US.

The report states that the low proportion of online donations made by older people in the UK contrasts with the increasing levels of engagement with smartphones and social media, and digital literacy among this age group.

To download the report visit