Tons of companies offer workplace giving programs as a way to incentivize employees to give back to their communities. To make the most of these philanthropic initiatives, qualifying nonprofits are taking increasingly proactive steps to drive supporter participation. But with a need for engaging multigenerational donors in the workforce, promoting the opportunities is not a one-size-fits-all task.
Instead, we recommend exploring effective strategies as you tailor your approach to each age group. And you’ve come to the right place to do so! In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about engaging varying generations of supporters, including:
- The Unmatched Value of Multigenerational Donor Engagement
- Top Fundraising + Workplace Giving Strategies by Generation
- Collecting Donor Data to Segment Your Engagement Strategy
- Our #1 Recommendation for Engaging All Generations: Automating Workplace Giving
Remember: the more you adjust your fundraising approach to your intended audience, the more likely the segment is to actively engage with your efforts.
Ready to create impactful and inclusive workplace giving programs that resonate with every generation in your supporter base? Let’s dive in.
The Unmatched Value of Multigenerational Donor Engagement
Your organization is likely backed by a wide range of donors of all ages, races, genders, backgrounds, and more. But do you take a universal approach to engagement? How exactly does a person’s stage in life factor into their relationship with your organization? Where do employee giving opportunities come into play for any age group?
These are the questions you should be asking yourself if you’re looking to develop a multigenerational engagement strategy.
And doing so is essential. After all, facilitating long-lasting connections with supporters of all age ranges empowers your organization to build a sustainable donor network.
As of findings from 2022 annual giving, the estimated generational giving breakdown is as follows:
- Matures — 20.2%
- Baby Boomers — 40.8%
- Generation X — 22.9%
- Millennials — 13.9%
- Gen Z — 2.2%
Meanwhile, the makeup of the current workforce looks like this:
- Matures — 1.3%
- Baby Boomers — 25.6%
- Generation X — 33.1%
- Millennials — 35%
- Gen Z — 5%
All in all, workplace giving programs continue to go significantly underutilized, with an estimated $4 to $7 billion in corporate funds going unclaimed from matching gifts each year—with volunteer grants and other employee giving initiatives falling short as well.
Ultimately, a strategy that focuses too narrowly on the older generations is likely to miss out on the immense opportunities made available by the up-and-coming (and, in many cases, already here) younger donors in your network. Conversely, centering too much on younger donors can cause missed potential from older generations who remain and still possess invaluable experience, deep connections, and a strong commitment to philanthropic support.
The answer? A well-balanced, multigenerational fundraising and workplace giving strategy that prioritizes the strengths of each group to maximize overall success.
Top Fundraising + Workplace Giving Strategies by Generation
With different characteristics defining each segment, effective workplace giving efforts can vary accordingly. Here, we’ll provide an overview of the five generations currently in the workforce—and partaking in philanthropy—and our recommended practices for engaging with the group.
- Age in 2023: 77 years and older
- Key Characteristics: Dependable, straightforward, and reliable
- Influenced by: Tradition, loyalty, recognition, and authority
- Preferred Communication Channels: Direct mail, phone calls
- Preferred Giving Methods: Direct mail, check/cash donations
Born prior to 1946, the Matures (also known as the Traditionalists or the Silent Generation) exhibit strong values of loyalty, discipline, and respect for authority. They have a powerful sense of duty and often prioritize stability and tradition. Though the causes they support are widespread, the Matures tend to be drawn to established institutions with long-standing, positive reputations.
Though the vast majority of the Mature generation is now retired, the group continues to give generously to the organizations they care about. In fact, retirees contribute an estimated 42% of all charitable dollars in the U.S. each year.
Our Top Tip: Familiarize yourself (and your team) with matching gift and volunteer grant programs that are inclusive of retirees!
Luckily, a lot of companies include retired employees in their workplace giving programs—such as the Coca-Cola Company, Johnson and Johnson, Chevron, Gap (and its subsidiaries), and many more.
However, there’s a good chance that eligible retirees (or even those still working for the companies) remain unaware of these programs. Thus, it’s a good idea for your organization to research available programs and communicate the opportunity to your audience.
- Age in 2023: 59 to 77 years old
- Key Characteristics: Optimistic, driven, and value personal growth
- Influenced by: Social change, civil rights, and economic prosperity
- Preferred Communication Channels: Meetings, phone calls, Facebook
- Preferred Giving Methods: Online donations, check/cash donations
Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers are a generation known for their strong work ethic and dedication to social causes. This group believes in making a tangible impact on specific communities or individuals through their charitable contributions. Plus, they often seek opportunities to actively engage with causes they care about.
When engaging Baby Boomers in workplace giving, it is crucial to emphasize the outcomes and measurable results of their doubled donations. Recognizing their long-standing commitment to making a difference and providing volunteer opportunities can also resonate well with this generation.
Our Top Tip: Highlight the opportunity for Baby Boomers to leave a lasting (and multiplied) legacy through workplace giving.
As this group approaches or enters retirement age, Boomers often take the time to reflect on their life’s accomplishments—and the impact they want to have made. By emphasizing how their contributions, combined with corporate funding, can create a meaningful and enduring impact on the causes they care about, nonprofits can tap into their desire to leave a positive mark on the world.
Be sure to provide tangible examples and motivational stories that demonstrate how matching gifts and volunteer grants have made a difference for your organization!
- Age in 2023: 43 to 58 years old
- Key Characteristics: Independent, adaptable, and familiar with significant changes
- Influenced by: Authentic storytelling and tangible giving outcomes
- Preferred Communication Channels: Email, social media
- Preferred Giving Methods: Online donations, event-based giving
Born between 1965 and 1980, Generation X is known for their independent, resourceful, and self-reliant nature. Gen Xers often seek causes that align with their personal beliefs, and they appreciate efficiency in communications. Plus, this group values flexibility and giving experiences that provide a sense of meaning.
When engaging Generation X donors in workplace giving, it’s a great idea to offer options that cater to their individual wants and needs. Providing customizable and streamlined ways to get involved with matching gifts, volunteer grants, and more, highlighting tangible outcomes, and offering opportunities for skills-based volunteering that align with their professional expertise can be effective ways to engage with this generation.
Our Top Tip: Harness Gen X’s desire for financial efficiency by promoting the potential to double their donation impact through matching gifts.
Generation Xers, who are often at the peak of their earning potential, appreciate maximizing the value of their giving. Highlight the fact that their donations can be matched by their employers, effectively doubling the impact they make on the causes they care about. And it’s all without reaching back into their own wallets at all!
- Age in 2023: 27 to 42 years old
- Key Characteristics: Tech-savvy, socially conscious, and outcome focused
- Influenced by: Peer-to-peer communication, transparency, and impact
- Preferred Communication Channels: Email, text messaging
- Preferred Giving Methods: Online donations, peer-to-peer fundraising
Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials are a generation characterized by their tech-savviness, passion for social justice, and desire for meaningful experiences. They grew up in the age of technological advancements and are often highly connected through social media and other digital platforms.
Overall, this group values transparency and tangible impact and is typically more motivated to give to causes rather than specific institutions. Millennials saw a 40% increase in average annual household giving from 2016 to 2022—the only generation with a positive change in the period. Providing opportunities for hands-on involvement, peer-to-peer fundraising, and highlighting the collective impact of their contributions can further engage this segment.
Plus, the group is already highly involved in workplace giving, with more than 86% of Millennial employees donating to nonprofit causes. Not to mention, a 2020 study reported that 58% of young professionals had given through an employee giving program, compared to only 37% overall.
Millennials also volunteer at a higher rate than any other generation, which means that volunteer grants are an excellent opportunity to pursue.
Our Top Tip: Mention workplace giving opportunities in your Millennial-focused donation appeals to incentivize giving in the first place!
A recent study indicated that while 64% of donors say that the presence of a matching gift is likely to motivate them to give, Millennials are more likely to be impacted by a match (over 78%) than any other generation.
Not to mention, younger generations of donors are increasingly likely to work for socially conscious companies that offer matching gift and volunteer grant programs, thus elevating their chances of eligibility.
- Age in 2023: 11 to 26 years old
- Key Characteristics: Tech-native, prioritizes diversity, and values social justice
- Influenced by: Desire to create social change
- Preferred Communication Channels: Messaging, texts
- Preferred Giving Methods: Online donations, crowdfunding, monthly giving
Gen Z represents the youngest group entering the workforce and, subsequently, becoming potential donors. Born between 1996 and 2012, Gen Z is often overlooked for its relatively limited capacity to give. However, this group currently has the “fastest growing economic power across all generational cohorts.”
With an estimated $360 billion in disposable income in 2021, Gen Z is expected to grow its aggregate income to over $33 trillion by 2030. As their disposable income grows, organizations can expect donation amounts to follow. And securing them as supporters now can go a long way in the end!
Also worth noting is that Generation Z is the most likely to opt for monthly giving (62%), which is often attributed to their familiarity with paying for subscription-based services. They favor regular communications as well, typically preferring monthly updates from the organizations they support.
Our Top Tip: Communicate the potential of workplace giving initiatives to further amplify recurring donations.
A common misunderstanding surrounding matching gift programs is that recurring donations do not qualify for employer matching. But in most cases, that’s generally not true! Make an effort to research your monthly donors’ corporate giving guidelines and communicate relevant information to your supporters.
By participating in their employers’ philanthropic initiatives, recurring donors can make an even greater impact on the causes they care about. You just need to break down the myths that are holding your match potential back and take a proactive approach to marketing workplace giving opportunities to your youngest donors.
Collecting Donor Data to Segment Your Engagement Strategy
As with any effective segmentation strategy, you’ll need the right information to inform your organization’s efforts. As you aim to elevate your workplace giving initiatives with generational data, you’ll need two key types of details.
What is it? Defined as “quantifiable attributes of a population, group, or individual,” demographic information includes details such as age, gender, income, education level, marital status, location, and more. Regarding multigenerational engagement, the most essential metric you’ll need is your donors’ (as well as volunteers’ and other supporters’) age groups.
Why does it matter? Having this information will allow you to target your workplace giving strategies accordingly! For example, you might determine that a top matching gift opportunity falls into the “Mature Generation” category. In that case, you may decide to send a direct mailing that highlights the opportunity and shares the information they need to participate rather than rely solely on digital outreach.
How can I get it? The easiest way is just to ask. But you don’t have to come right out and ask for their exact age. Instead, add an optional donation form field that prompts donors to enter their date of birth (hint: you can also send a birthday card!).
Or, ask supporters to check a box for the age range they fall into (ex: 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+).
What is it? The other key information you’ll need to market workplace giving strategies effectively has to do with your supporters’ employment data. Though the companies your audience works (or worked) for is the most essential piece, it can also help to know their working status—such as full-time, part-time, or retired.
Why does it matter? This information will help your team (or your software) identify available opportunities for workplace giving programs. When you see that your donors work for companies that match gifts or your volunteers work for companies that provide volunteer grants, you’ll want to follow up with information about how they can get involved.
How can I get it?Add another field to your donation form that prompts supporters to enter the name of their company, or embed our employer search tool directly into your giving page or confirmation screen. With Double the Donation, you can even enlist follow-up messaging to provide another opportunity for donors to share the information with ease. Jump to the next section to learn more about how automation helps drive results!
Top tip: When you provide context for the ask (e.g., “See if your company will match your gift! Select your employer here.”), donors typically respond particularly well. On the other hand, a data appending service can help fill in the blanks for those who don’t provide it themselves.
Our #1 Recommendation for Engaging All Generations: Automating Workplace Giving
When it comes to engaging multigenerational donors in workplace giving, there is one strategy that stands out above the rest… And that is automating the process.
Workplace giving automation not only streamlines the process for your team behind the scenes but also enhances convenience, accessibility, and engagement for donors across all age groups.
Here’s how automation elevates matching gifts and volunteer grants:
Increases awareness of the opportunity for all supporters.
There’s a significant knowledge gap regarding workplace giving programs among every generation. In fact, an estimated 78% of eligible donors have no idea that their employer matches. Luckily, workplace giving technology automates marketing and promotions around the opportunity, ensuring that every donor receives information regarding the programs. When supporters are aware of their chance to stretch their impact further with matching gifts and volunteer grants, they’re often eager to participate!
Facilitates easy personalization.
Individuals of all generations appreciate personalized outreach. From seeing their name in an email subject line to being provided with insights for their employer’s giving program, tailored messaging strengthens relationships—and produces results. With a matching gift tool, the software fills in the blanks in customizable templates, providing highly specific communications with no added effort.
Appeals to all levels of tech savviness.
In today’s digital age, younger generations, such as Millennials and Gen Z often prefer digital engagement. After all, they tend to have ample experience with online transactions. And while older generations may not be as familiar with the technology, an automated tool can go a long way in helping guide them through the process with detailed assistance and step-by-step instructions. Now, they won’t need to go searching in their company’s intranet for a matching gift form to complete—because they were provided with a direct link to the submission portal in their email.
Tracks and drives more matches to completion.
Ultimately amplifying giving with more matches making it across the finish line, automation allows for seamless matching gift tracking and follow-ups. The end result is fewer matches left unclaimed and more corporate funds available to your organization. And when supporters of all ages see the impact of their contributions being multiplied, they’ll become increasingly engaged with your cause.
Engaging multigenerational donors is a dynamic and multifaceted process that requires careful consideration of your audience. After all, each segment plays a key role in your overall fundraising and workplace giving success. Thus, you’ll want to account for the diverse needs and preferences of every generation.
The better you understand the primary characteristics, values, and motivations that describe each group, the more effectively your organization can tailor its giving programs. Plus, there are a few key strategies that can lend themselves to powerful workplace giving results across all generations—such as investing in dedicated matching gift and volunteer grant technology—that you certainly don’t want to miss.
In the end, your nonprofit will be better funded, your donors feel strengthened connections to your cause, and the communities you serve experience greater programming made available through workplace giving revenue.
Best of luck!
- Double the Donation’s Matching Gift and Corporate Giving Research
- Giving USA’s Special Report – Giving by Generation
- Blackbaud’s The Next Generation of American Giving
- Classy’s Generational Giving Infographic
- Qgiv’s Generational Giving Study