Targeting Donors by Age – GEN X

Targeting Donors by Age – GEN X

When you’re conducting donor outreach, do you consider the ages of your donors? If not, it’s time to start. There are subtle and not-so-subtle differences in how your donors respond to requests for donations. We’ve launched a four-part series on targeting donors by age. Here are some valuable tips on how to target Gen X donors.

A Generous Generation

Gen X makes up approximately 20% of the US Population. Call this Generation Generous! More than half of Gen Xers report they regularly give to charity. 73% say they are long-term supporters of a nonprofit. In addition, this is the first generation to embrace monthly giving programs. 

Monthly Giving Programs

If you’re a Gen Xer, it’s likely you already participate in a monthly giving program. Half of Gen X is enrolled in one. They sort of became mainstream as this group became older, more charity-minded, and started earning more disposable income. Remember those commercials for UNICEF – “Just a few cents a day can feed a hungry child.” Or the close-ups of sad-eyed animals, while Sara McLachlan sings “Angel.” Making a difference is important to Gen Xers, and it’s also a group which values transparency.


Gen Xers want – no, NEED – to see the impact their gift is making. Target them with language around this. Demonstrate how their gift will help build this brand-new play structure, or provide summer camp. Use pictures and powerful storytelling videos. The videos don’t have to be highly-produced – just content rich. Feature people with boots on the ground. Use phones to record important people, say your ED, saying a few words about your latest project. This is a group that grew up doing homework! Studies show ⅔ of Gen Xers will research your org before donating. See why you need to show them what you’re doing with their donation?


When friends and family say they believe in and donate to a nonprofit, that’s a powerful motivator for Gen Xers. To target Gen X donors, ask your loyal supporters to provide testimonials. You’re doing great work. Now you need to show how good it feels to support the great work you’re doing!


It harkens back to the transparency that’s important to this generation: Tout your accomplishments via newsletters and keep in touch. About a third of Gen X donors report they enjoy reading newsletters, whether they receive them in the mailbox or their inbox. Newsletters spread the word about your great deeds, and they also are a great forum for showing your donors abundant appreciation. Unlike millennials and Gen Z donors, this group still enjoys getting a phone call or direct mail sometimes. But NONE of the aforementioned groups can tolerate outdated websites! Is it time to refresh YOURS?

Online Donations

Do you have highly-visible, up-to-date online donation methods on your website?

More than 80% of Gen Xers have a smartphone. Make it super easy for them to give! It may be time to take a closer look at your website, too. When was the last time you did? Is the information on your site outdated? Do you list staff who no longer work for you?

Social Proof

39% of Gen X donors say they’re more likely to give after seeing something on social media. Social proof is important and impactful to Gen Xers, and it’s even more important and impactful for younger generations. Tap into social proof via crowdfunding. In fact, here’s a fun stat that might make you want to start one immediately after you read the following sentence: Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are now generating fully ⅓ of all online donations. P2P campaigns shared over social media, email and text messages are one of the very best ways to find and retain new donors.  

Workplace Philanthropy

Gen Xers are particularly fond of getting involved via their workplaces. Think: fun runs, jog-a-thons, walk/cycle for a cause, etc. See if you can secure corporate sponsors for your workplace activities. They’re not just good for raising money. They’re also team-building! Workplace bonding over shared experiences is so great for morale. Maximize your impact by collaborating with corporate sponsors.


Gen Xers grew up volunteering, and they’re still doing it! For whatever reason, this is the age group that’s most likely to volunteer. Folks who volunteer are more likely to make a donation. Therefore, target Gen X donors through community outreach! If you can get corporate sponsors involved in said community outreach, you’ll be able to make an even bigger impact.

As a nonprofit leader, you already know how important donor development is. We hope our series on targeting donors by age is helping you refine and streamline your outreach efforts. Next, we’ll have some advice on targeting another very generous generation – millennials! If you  want to learn more in the meantime, reach out for a complimentary consultation.