Dear Development Director,

Please stop abusing your staff with demands to “get more young people” onto the donor rolls. First of all, it will only be marginally effective at best because giving is a life-stage phenomenon.

More importantly, demography is basically irrelevant.

A 60-year old who cares deeply about animal welfare thinks a lot like a 30-year old with the same values. Values — not age or gender or zip code – is the glue that holds your donor community together.

Here’s a recent explication of what I’m talking about.

Your job is not to “target young donors.” Your job is to understand the unifying values of your donors, understand the language your donors use, and understand what they are looking for from you.