There is much speculation about the possibility to gain and retain loyalty from today’s donors. Today’s donors react against the past modern era and live in a culture we call “post-modernism.” Post modern donors exhibit the following characteristics:
- While moderns rejected the past, post moderns are open to the past when set in context. They are sophisticated enough to understand that all things are born out of their history. Unlike the moderns, they do not buy in to the mystery of elitism, but rather the playfulness of the popular.
- Post-modern culture is cynical about institution for institution sake.
- Demographics tend to get blurred. Traditional demographics like geography, age, profession and income are no longer a reliable prediction of opinion.
- This generation believes that the world revolves around them. They are unapologetically self-centred.
- Internet, television, books and other media distribute vast amounts of easily accessed information.
- Change is good. Most people will have from 3 to 6 careers in their life time. They will move to new areas of their cities, their nation and globally. They are not afraid to re-invent and re-create themselves.
What does this mean for fundraisers?
- Reject false elitism and celebrate your history. President’s clubs and “membership” is less appealing to this generation. They respond well to “meaningful” elitism and like to be on the cusp of a new ideas or new movements.
- They gravitate to successful organizations. They want to come alongside a success story, not a struggling or falsely pompous organization.
- They are highly motivated by a cause they believe in. They want to be inspired and respond poorly to joining for philanthropic good.
- All communication with them must centre on them. Reject the organizational “we” for “you” and “I”.
- They will test your information for the truth. They have a broader understanding of overall issues than past supporters. They also may have more misinformation than past supporters.
- Controlled and logical change makes sense to them. They are willing to increase monthly payments if it makes sense. They are willing to pay by the month from their bank or credit card because it makes sense to them.
Can we expect loyalty from our supporters?
There is no doubt that we can expect loyalty from our supporters. We have an opportunity to inspire and motivate people across the world to make our cause theirs.