How to Attract Younger Donors During Year-End Giving Season

Libi Berenson • Oct 31, 2022

When planning year-end giving campaigns, nonprofit organizations across the globe work to create an impact for the communities they serve – whether through cash donations or in-kind giving. For most organizations, a blend of both can create the biggest impact.

With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating a shift to a remote environment, many nonprofit organizations are looking to engage donors through in-kind giving from the comfort of their own homes, an appealing option for younger donors. With more giving options on the table, nonprofits should ask themselves, is our organization ready to adapt and embrace the changing demographics of our donor base?

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What is In-Kind Giving?

What exactly is an in-kind donation? An in-kind donation is a non-cash gift given to a nonprofit. In-kind presents donors with an opportunity to give in the form of a product or service, rather than cash. For example, donors can give gently used items they no longer need or give items that families truly need and ask for – such as clothing or food.

In-kind giving is also a way to build stronger relationships with donors who may not be able to support your organization with cash donations. In addition, in-kind donations also greatly benefit nonprofit organizations, as they can free up cash funds for other initiatives.

The Importance of Expanding Your Donor Pool with Year-End In-Kind Giving

With nearly 31% of annual giving occurring in December, year-end giving is one of the most important times of the year for nonprofit organizations. However, as you plan your year-end giving campaigns for Giving Tuesday or the upcoming holiday season, in-kind giving should be included as it can attract new and younger donors. Having a diverse donor base is particularly important when you consider that as your organization gets older, so do your donors. 

Currently, the average age of a donor in the United States is 64 years old, and 55 years in Canada. Nonprofits looking to spread positive impact for years to come must start investing in new donor relationships today to build a long-term rapport that can be leveraged for nonprofit longevity. 

Additionally, there is an important reason why you should care about younger donors. Millennials and Gen Z actually want to give back and are boasting about increasing purchasing power. For instance, Gen Z’s purchasing power by 2030 is projected to be $33 trillion dollars, and in 2020, 81% of Millennials and Gen Z gave to charitable organizations. As the following section will display, in-kind options actually empower younger donors to give.

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Deep Dive: Giving Back From the Perspective of a Younger Donor

When structuring your year-end giving campaign, it’s important to understand what exactly drives the younger generation to give, and how your organization and the donor can mutually benefit from the interaction.

Both Gen Z and Millennials share mutual values and desires when it comes to engaging in giving, and these values should be leveraged in your year-end giving campaigns. For instance, both Millennial and Gen Z donors prefer using a smartphone – notably, 98% of Gen Z owns a smartphone. This means nonprofits need to be equipped with mobile-friendly giving experiences that can easily entice younger donors and make it more accessible for them to support your organization.

Furthermore, younger donors are not content with just giving cash anymore. They have high expectations of the organizations they support, looking for giving options that will maximize their investment. Millennials especially are prone to shifting their dollars if they don’t see a tangible impact of their donation – making increased transparency vital for nonprofit organizations during year-end giving campaigns. 

It’s here that in-kind year-end giving campaigns become increasingly relevant. When nonprofits incorporate in-kind giving options for donors, they are empowering younger donors to feel a real connection and measured impact through the products or services they are giving.
Did you know that 66% of Millennials “track results” for most or all the nonprofits they support? This means nonprofits need to be equipped with tools that help them quantify how a donation has impacted their community. To gain even more trust from donors, nonprofits should also consider the power of appreciation to ensure that younger donors understand the impact of their gift.

Above all, appealing to younger generations is not just an opportunity to capture them as long-term donors, but rather convert them into a community of ambassadors.  Converting one donor into an ambassador opens up an ongoing network effect, for example, 33% of donors encourage their family and friends to give to the same cause. Ultimately, “next-gen philanthropists” can be co-creators and partners for your organization, advocating for your cause if they feel compelled by your mission. 90% of Millennials are “more motivated” to give by a compelling mission, and a lack of trust in your organization would be a barrier to their generosity.

Aligning Your In-Kind Campaigns With Younger Donors

Now that you understand who exactly the younger generation is, what they value and the importance of engaging them with in-kind donations,the Geenees team has come up with the ultimate guide to setting up year-end in-kind giving campaigns, to maximize your year-end fundraising efforts!

Here is a glimpse of the topics covered, but be sure to download your free and in-depth guide below. 

  1. Knowing your audience and their preferred experience
  2. Equipping your organization with an online in-kind giving platform
  3. Choose a theme and set a goal for your organization
  4. Practice Transparency in Wishlists 
  5. Highlight a mix of essential products and services
  6. Maximize donor retention
  7. Post-Campaign Measurement: 

Download Geenees’ Free How-To Guide on Setting Up Year-End In-Kind Giving Campaigns

Use this guide to understand your audience, set goals, create wish lists and maximize donor retention!

This is a photo of Libi Berenson wearing a black and white shirt and glasses.

About the Author:

Libi Berenson, Founder & CEO at Geenees

Libi is a woman entrepreneur, experienced leader, and operations executive on a mission to help those who need it most through her innovative platform Geenees. Geenees is leading the new-age of giving by empowering nonprofit organizations to upscale and attract new generations of donors.