This is part two in our three-part series to help nonprofits maximize their donations with the power of generational marketing. In part one of this series, we talked about the generation that gives more to charity than any other – the Baby Boomers. Now, let’s look at another age cohort you should be targeting in your fundraising appeals: Generation X.

Who are Generation X?

They experienced the birth of MTV, the rise of personal computers and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, look around and you’ll find them in positions of influence – whether as high-level employees, proud parents or the nation’s largest group of small business owners. In short, they are a charitable force to be reckoned with. Here’s a quick snapshot.

Generation X:

  • Born between 1965-1980.
  • Currently in their early 40’s to late 60’s.
  • Population: 65.6 million in 2018 (U.S).
  • 56% give to charity annually. Being philanthropic is important to this group.

Why nonprofits should target Gen X donors.

In 2022, the Baby Boomers reign supreme for charitable giving. But that trend is expected to change when Gen X surpasses the Boomer generation in population by 2030, while approaching their prime giving years. This coming shift explains why Gen X has been called the next big thing in philanthropy.

Appealing to Gen X: why your website matters.

Savvy in their spending habits, Gen Xers care deeply about the way their charitable gift will be used. In fact, research shows nearly two-thirds conduct due diligence on a nonprofit before making a donation.

Where do they seek that info? You guessed it: your organization’s website.

In its 2018 report, Blackbaud found that 64% of Gen Xers turn to a nonprofit’s website as their preferred source of information. This confirms findings by QGiv, whose Generational Giving Report found an outdated website to be the #1 factor for dissuading surveyed respondents from giving to a nonprofit.

With this notion in mind, here are a few things to consider when it comes to your website:

  1. Is your site polished, visually appealing and easy to navigate? Does it contain high-quality images and well-written copy?
  2. Do your pages clearly articulate your mission, and provide compelling reasons to donate? (Side note: this generation may be more likely than others to consider the tax deductible status of their donation).
  3. Is there a breakdown of how a donor’s money will be spent?
  4. Are there testimonials, blog articles, news/updates or other features to capture your audience’s attention?
  5. Does your site include a mobile payment option? Surveys show this group may prefer eCheck and other online forms of giving.
  6. Is your site optimized for mobile? All generations are attached their smartphones, and an un-optimized site might look sloppy and out-of-date no matter how gorgeous it is.


Could you use some help with your website? Ask the experts

Direct mail might be the secret sauce!

This is 2022. Everyone uses email now, right?

Au contraire. As we discussed in a previous post, research shows that direct mail is making a big comeback. The same holds true for charitable giving: consider Blackbaud’s finding that direct mail brings in 8 to 9 times the charitable funds than email each year; or that in 2017, email accounted for only 8% of all donations to nonprofits.

For your next campaign, consider combining direct mail and email to reach your audience at the mailbox and the inbox. There’s a ton of buzz around USPS Informed Delivery, which is a great way to combine the capabilities of email with the benefits of regular mail. Best of all? It’s free. Check it out.

Own your online presence.

While Millennials and Gen Zers absorb a lot of their news and information from social media, nearly two-thirds of Gen Xers will use a search engine as the front door to your nonprofit. This makes it a smart (and free) idea to take charge of your Google Business Profile. Doing so will allow you to manage your first impressions by posting your best photos, responding to questions and comments, directing traffic to your site and more. It’s an easy, important piece of low-hanging fruit that should not be ignored. Google it.

The gist.

Generation X is poised to become America’s #1 source for charitable giving, surpassing the Baby Boomers before the end of the decade. To appeal to Gen Xers, it’s essential that your website is kept up-to-date, as that’s where they’ll go to seek information about your nonprofit. This group needs to know their gift will make an impact, not just go to overhead; use your website (and social platforms) as a sounding-board for testimonials, success stories and other compelling data. Since Gen X primarily seeks their information via search engine, embrace the opportunity to own your online persona by maintaining your Google Business Profile. Finally, experiment with donor campaigns that combine direct mail and email, while also taking advantage of social media to engage your audience.

Stay tuned for part three of our generational marketing series, when we’ll talk about Millennials.


Need help with your website? Ask the experts