According to The Next Generation of American Giving, in 2018 there were roughly 55.3 million Boomer donors, which shows that 75% of all Boomers give to charity. Per capita, a Boomer donor gives $1,061 per year and gives to 4.2 charities annually. As a generation, Boomers contribute $58.6 billion to charities per year, making them the most philanthropic of any generation.
For those waiting on the ascendancy of Boomers to decline, you might be waiting a while. Having given nearly $60 billion to charities in 2018, Boomers represented a whopping 41% of all money donated during that period. Not only have Boomers given the most, but they are also significantly more likely to be givers than younger generations and are the only generation seeing a directional increase in the percentage of cohort members who say they give to charities. This harmonizes with demographic trends, showing that Boomers remain the most populous of any generation with more than 74 million living members.1
While dominant, Boomers may be approaching the top of the parabola. From 2013 to 2018, Boomers have declined from representing 43% of all dollars given to 41%. According to Blackbaud’s 2020 Charitable Giving Report, the average U.S. donor is 64 years old, which places them squarely in the Boomer cohort and suggests that they will continue to dominate the philanthropic space for the next few years.
1 2018, Blackbaud Institute, The Next Generation of American Giving
2 2021, Blackbaud Institute, Charitable Giving Report
In general, the younger you are, the more open you are to a wider range of solicitation channels. Boomers appear to be as comfortable with online giving as their younger peers, with 35% having donated online. However, they still significantly leverage traditional donation channels like direct mail, which 27% of them use. Boomers are far less likely to give via social media or mobile device than younger generations.
For the foreseeable future, your organization’s primary drivers of financial support may lie with Boomers and Generation Xers. Pay attention to donors of these age groups, and be sure that you are supplying them with meaningful engagement. Near-term expectations for Millennial and Generation Z giving may fall short as these generations preoccupy themselves with making a living, raising children, or finding security in the financial market.