Forget Millennials - What About Gen X & Boomers?

Lori Halley 12 November 2013 0 comments

Recently, we offered some tips and advice for enticing Millennials (or Gen Y) to your events. But in your scramble to engage Millennials, don’t neglect Gen X or Boomers. The reality is that you need to have strategies for all generations of members and supporters.

First what about Boomers?

As we noted in our post a while back - Generational Giving By the Numbers - according to Blackbaud’s The Next Generation of American Giving report, “Baby Boomers will exert an outsized influence on charitable giving for the foreseeable future. Representing roughly one-third of all adults who give, Boomers contribute more than 43% of all the dollars donated.”

In addition, Boomers are still sitting on non-profit and membership boards and will continue to volunteer in a multitude of ways at non-profits and associations for some time to come.

What about Gen X?

While Boomers should continue to provide volunteer leadership for many non-profits and membership organizations for a while yet, Gen X is primed and waiting in the wings.

As Sarah Sladek suggests in a post on the XYX University blog - What Generation X and Mosquitos Have in Common:

A slight 48 million Americans, Generation X (1965-1981) is situated between two behemoth generations: 78 million Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and 80 million Generation Ys (1982-1995).

Xers have been outnumbered and overlooked most of their professional lives, firmly seated under the Gray Ceiling and awaiting the retirements of Boomers. Until now, they have been considered too small to make a difference, but that’s all about to change.

Within the next 2-3 years, more Xers will be called upon to lead as the Boomers begin to retire. This shift will make a huge impact on the workforce–perhaps more than any other time in history. In fact, some changes are already beginning to emerge.

Millennials (Gen Y) Are Right Behind Them

However, as Steve Drake (SCD Group) suggests in his post, New Poll Suggests New Pool of Volunteers,

A recent USA Today/Bipartisan Policy Center poll shows that Americans by more than 2-1 say the best way to make positive changes in society is through volunteer organizations and charities rather than through government service.

Those under 30 years are the most likely to feel this way.

...As some 78 million Boomers are reaching retirement age and – with many pulling back from associations and professional societies -- who will fill their shoes?

The bottom line is that your association or non-profit needs to be sure you are addressing and engaging ALL of the generations to ensure you have a renewable resource of members, volunteers and leadership now and in the future.

What are your biggest communications and engagement challenges across the generations?  Let us know in the comments below.

Images source:  The Next Generation of American Giving infographic from Blackbaud

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Tuesday, 12 November 2013 at 8:30 AM

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