How To Engage Older Donors and Volunteers

1 May 2018
Posted by Jon Swerens
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May is Older Americans Month. How much do you know about this graying population? Senior citizens are a significant demographic that cannot be ignored—they are often generous donors and volunteers.

Just like any generation, they require specific tactics, messaging, and language to attract and retain their loyalty. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

They are more Internet savvy than you might think.

While they still value and respond to traditional marketing, like direct mail and newspaper ads, they are also online and many have smart devices. In fact, seniors are the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook. How might this impact your messaging?

Cater to their needs.

While they are more knowledgeable online than ever, don’t discount their background. This is especially critical when it comes to marketing. Don’t go crazy with the fonts and the colors in emails or direct mail. And whatever you do, don’t bury the donate button or make it too small on your website. (This is actually a best practice across the board.)

Also, make it obvious that check donations are still welcome. Many seniors are more comfortable mailing a check than using a credit card online.

Don’t forget the personal touch.

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be easy for seniors to feel lost in the shuffle. The antidote? Personalize the experience. This can be as simple as a hand-written card or phone call from your director.

Meet them where they are.

Many seniors want to give back through their time. Older volunteers, however, may have physical disabilities or other limitations that need to be accommodated. Create an environment in which volunteers of all abilities feel welcomed and valued.

Does your organization depend on older volunteers and donors? What do you think volunteer managers and development officers need to know about reaching them?

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