Profile of Charitable Giving: Navigating a Multigenerational Donor Base

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Philips, Megan
Philips, Megan
Master of Leadership Development
This thesis sets out to better understand the climate of charitable giving among today's multigenerational donor base. The goal is to distinguish characteristics of the current donor base to aid in the development of fundraising messaging and engagement strategies. Specifically, constructing the case for a generational donor-centered engagement approach. It is essential for nonprofits to stay abreast of research and trends surrounding charitable giving. Many organizations rely on credible research to guide and develop their donor engagement strategies. For this reason, the purpose of this analysis is to aid nonprofit organizations to understand today's donor base better, especially emerging and untapped donors. The research will examine the relationship between existing generational groups and charitable engagement. The thesis will examine if collective behaviors exist among generational cohorts regarding how they give their time, talent, and treasures to charitable organizations. Secondary research, including organizational studies conducted by philanthropic research institutions including Blackbaud Foundation and Giving USA Foundation in collaboration with the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy, will be utilized as the basis of this study. These foundations are a few of the leading research agencies within the philanthropic industry monitoring charitable giving by incorporating methodological approaches with the most up-to-date data. The findings from various secondary research studies will be analyzed and compared to determine trends in behaviors and attitudes. The results of this research will be utilized to determine if nonprofit organizations should be tailoring their donor engagement strategies based on an individual donor's age.