Need-to-Know Data about Generational Characteristics

We're getting closer to year-end fundraising. As your plans are coming together, you will want to hone in on the experiences and needs of your target audiences.

When you are trying to cultivate donors and activists, and move them up the ladder of engagement, it's critical to understand your communities' demographics and not just what campaigns they have donated to in the past or what advocacy actions they have taken. While that is certainly important data to arm yourself with, you also need to understand what their cultural narrative looks like. By doing so, you'll gain insight into what their behaviors and habits might look like based on major events they have experienced during their lives. We're providing you with a cheat sheet, but use this as an opportunity to dig deeper into the  experiences of your specific audiences.

Here's a breakdown of demographics

For the Silent Generation/Traditionalists (people born before 1946):

For the Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 - 1964):

For Generation X / Busters (people born between 1965 - 1980):

For Generation Y / Millennials (people born between 1981 - 1994):

And, last but not least, Generation Z / Digital Natives (people born after 1994):








Are You Keeping Up With Social Media Trends?

We know that social media is discussed at every tech conference, in every workshop, and within nonprofit organizations, but no matter how much we talk about it, the trends are always shifting, changing, and growing.

It's important to keep up with the updates, and make sure you're utilizing social media the best you can for your organization. It's also critical to remember that what works for one organization may not be the right practices for you.

We took a look at the social media marketing trends for 2014 from Social Media Examiner, and found a really great infographic to go along with it.

Here are a few key points from the infographic that you should note:

  • Infographics and Internet memes are still performing well. If you're using these visuals, it's important to make sure that they're engaging, relevant to your area of expertise, and factchecked. Please do not cat memes just because you know they are popular. If they have no connection to your issue or your content, you will end up making your organization look silly.
  • More than half of the organizations surveyed revealed that original written content is the most important form of content for their business. Your organization should challenge staff to write fresh content that appeals to your target audiences. One way to do this is to develop a content strategy. Do you already have one in place? If so, is it working for you, or could you do something differently to make it even more successful? Could you train more staff to play an active role in contributing relevant content to your website and social media channels?
  • 90% of marketers regularly utilize Facebook advertising. It's accessible, it's affordable, and it can be targeted. Even if you don't have a large budget for social media or marketing, you can boost a Facebook post for as little as $5, and tailor it to target people with very specific interests in specific regions. And of course Care2, the social action network behind the Frogloop blog, has great list building opportunities that are cost effective

What trends do you wish you knew more about?

social media examiner marketing trends infographic


Strategies to Maximize your #GivingTuesday

With the holiday season inching closer and closer, your nonprofit might be looking to recharge your holiday giving campaigns. One option you may consider is to create a #GivingTuesday campaign for December 2nd to amp up your year-end fundraising. #GivingTuesday is a way for charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. Last year #GivingTuesday raised more than $19.2M in online donations for participating nonprofits (according to this Blackbaud statistic).

Here are some tips to having a successful #GivingTuesday Campaign that requires some advanced planning:

1. Post #GivingTuesday promotion on your website or blog. Make sure your readers/supporters know that you are participating this year.

2. Send an email alert to your email list encouraging them to donate money to your organization on #GivingTuesday. Also ask them to get involved on social media and share it with their friends and colleagues who maybe interested in supporting your organization.

3. Once the event is over, share your successes with your supporters.


Use These Resources to Learn More:


Infographic: Data From America's Biggest Online Giving Challenge 

Last spring I learned about the 24-hour online Give Local America fundraising challenge. I was inspired by the idea because it provided a great way for local communities to come together and raise money to support local charities and causes. As I was watching the final hours of the campaign on May 6th, I was blown away to see that over $53M was raised in donations. It became the biggest giving day in US history.
Give Local America just released their final data from the successful giving day.


Some of the impressive data includes:

  • Total Donations: 306,098
  • Sector Raised the Most: Health and Human Services followed by Education
  • Region That Raised The Most: The South
  • Time Of Day Most Money Was Donated: 11AM CT
Check out the rest of the data below and be sure and mark your calendars for May 5, 2015 the next Give Local America online giving challenge. 



Best Times to Post on Social Media

If you are like most organizations, your staff wears many hats. If you are juggling several tasks including managing social media accounts, check out this data about the best times to post updates. However, before you dive into it, it's important that you remember to look at your own engagement and what the best times are to post for your own organization. Sometimes posting during the "dead zone periods" can be beneficial because you are not competing with all the noise. The best thing that you can do is to test it. 


Best Times to Post on Social Media:

Twitter  9am-7pm ET 
Facebook  9am-11pm ET 
LinkedIn After 5pm ET 
Tumblr   1pm-11pm ET
Instagram  9am-11pm ET
Pinterest  8am-12am and 4pm-6pm ET
Google+  9am-5pm ET


What are the best times you have found to post on social media?



Are Nonprofits Staffing Tech Right?

In the past, nonprofits would just have someone on staff (usually the Communications person) run all things tech at the organization, plus their organizational duties, and sometimes that's still the case. Technology staffing is a full time job, and NTEN just released their 8th Annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investments Report to dig deeper into what nonprofits are doing to handle the tech in this fast-paced technological world.

The report examines technology staffing levels, technology budgets, overall organizational approach to technology decisions, as well as technology oversight and management practices. Over 750 individuals from nonprofits participated in taking the survey, ranging from various operating budget size, staff size, and more.

A few key findings from the report that your nonprofit may want to take into consideration:

  • Generally organizations designate tech-specific staff. On average, nonprofits have 4.4 technology-responsible staff.

  • Size doesn't matter. Larger size and budgets don’t necessarily correlate with being at the leading end of the tech adoption spectrum: 7% of small organizations report that they are at the leading end of the technology adoption spectrum compared to 3% of the very large organizations from our survey.
  • It's time to ramp up the data. Compared to previous years, there has been an increase in the number of "Data" staff.
  • What does money look like? When looking at the per-staff budgets, it was disocovered that very large organizations may be spending the same - or even less- than small organizations.
  • Strategic planning is key. Leading organizations are nearly 3x more likely to include tech in their strategic plans than struggling organizations. 64% of all respondents have incorporated technology in their own strategic plan.

It's important to analyze your own organizational needs, and to set up a technological strategic plan and a staffing plan. Will your organization be dedicating more resources to technology and staffing this year?

Read the full report here.


5 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Reach Millennials 

Nonprofits have been trying to reach millennials effectively for some time now. Some organizations like Ask Big Questions, a program of Hillel International and Do Something have figured it out, while others are still tailoring their strategies. We took a look at a couple of surveys, from Millennial Impact Research and from the infographic, Everything You Need to Know About the Millennial Consumer. For those of nonprofits still tailoring their strategies, we've got some tips on how to reach millennials.


  1. Text, don't call! 52% of millennials would rather have conversations via text than on the phone. Make an effort to capture the mobile phone numbers of your constituents, and get their permission to reach out by text message.
  2. Make your brand accessible. Does your organization advertise in the most optimum spaces? 38% of millennials said that brands are more accessible and trustworthy when they use social media ads vs. traditional ads. Find out where your audience is. Are they on Instagram? Facebook? Twitter? Do they prefer Tumblr or LinkedIn? Engage with them on the channels and platforms where they're at. On average, they're checking their smartphones 43 times per day.
  3. Educate them about your organization, and challenge them to think and reinforce their passion. It's what many millennials want. Start a dialogue, not a monologue. More than 60% of respondents liked it most when nonprofits shared success stories about success projects or the people they help.
  4. Don't just tell a story with no ask. Make sure to incorporate an ask or a call to action in all of your stories. Contrary to popular belief, millennials aren't lazy, and they want to help. 51% connect on social media, 46% donate to the causes they're passionate about, and 46% read blog posts. Who said blogging was dead? So keep 'em engaged, and ask for help when you need it.
  5. Keep your content updated. No one likes to see outdated content, but millenials in particular loathe it. It's one of the fastest ways to turn them off. 

How are you reaching millennials?