This is part 2 of 4 in a series called 4 Common (and False) Assumptions About Online Giving. We examine some potentially harmful assumptions you might be making about your potential givers.
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“OK Boomer” is a new derogatory meme used by Millennials’ to mock their elders, whom they believe to be out of touch with today’s news and trends.
Disregard for our elders’ viewpoints seems to be inevitable, but discounting previous generations can be foolish and shortsighted. Ministry leader Brett Harris may have put it best: “The beauty of collaboration between older and younger generations is that we combine strength with wisdom – a surefire way to accomplish more for the glory of God.”
When it comes to online tithing, churches’ focus has swung to Millennials in the last decade. But that strategy hasn’t yielded the hoped-for results. And it overlooks the large older generation that is staying active and living longer while holding 70% of disposable income in the US.
If you’re relying on the popular 80/20 rule to guide your church fundraising and online donation strategy, then you may be:
Baby Boomers have by far the highest potential for generosity, and not simply because they hold the lion’s share of the nation’s disposable income.
In a direct contrast to Millennials (who don’t see giving as more impactful than other ways of help), 52% of Seniors believe that giving financially is the best way to have an impact on the causes they care about (Source). Their favorite way to help is to give!
While you don’t want to overburden your generous 20%, consider that Baby Boomers are your greatest source of wealth. They’re willing to spend money (Source). They are also more likely than younger generations to give out of a sense of responsibility or obedience to Scripture. (Source)
Could your Boomers be capable of greater generosity?
Today’s seniors are remaining active as they age. They see retirement as a time to contribute their energy, time, and resources to causes they care about. Churches can nurture their generosity by seeking their input and wisdom individually on projects such as building campaigns, community outreach or missions. Their financial support will follow the projects they are invested in.
And what about your Baby Boomers who don’t give consistently yet? Thom Rainer calls this group the “original rebellious generation.” Though many of them have some of the same disillusionments with religion that younger generations have, in the last couple of years they’ve been returning to church, according to a 45-year Longitudinal Study of Generations. (Source)
What’s behind this change? According to the study, it’s because Boomers have more time. And as they age, they’re more aware of the brevity and fragility of life. Many are asking questions about life they’ve never asked.
The Unstuck Group, a church growth consulting organization, agrees. It cautions that with all the focus on Millennials now, churches “may not be ready for Boomers and their high expectations,” which rival Millennials’. Baby Boomers have never been a generation to sit back quietly and they don’t have time for hassles. As they redefine retirement, they’re just as happy to donate their time and resources to nonprofits that offer a more professional experience if their wisdom and experience aren’t valued at your church. (Source)
How do these traits apply to their online giving potential?
First, this particular set of Boomers isn’t likely to give out of the same sense of responsibility that long-time church-going Seniors may have.
Second, Boomers are less gullible online than younger people, with greater concerns about security and privacy. They’re likely to be intolerant when your text-to-give app redirects them to a third-party site to finalize their gift. And they won’t appreciate an impersonal thank you email from an organization they don’t know.
Like Millennials, older givers have little patience with frustrating forms. And if your giving platform imposes a maximum amount limit, it will most likely be your Boomers who discover it.
Have you checked lately to see how your current church online giving platform scores in these areas:
Online giving platforms are not all created equal. To recreate online the same engaging welcome you offer in person, the above features can be deal-breakers—and not just for your digitally savvy Millennials. Boomers care about these things, too, whether they already give or they’re hiding out in your 80%.
Vision2 provides the hassle-free online giving experience that all generations have come to expect, with features found in no other giving platform.