My favorite Who song is My Generation. Even if you don’t dig 1960’s Brit rock anthems, chances are you still like talking about the differences (and similarities) between generations.

Sea Change — along with Blackbaud and Edge Research — is doing just that and digging into charitable giving differences and similarities between Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers and Matures in the Next Generation of American Giving study.

Mark (from Sea Change of course) and Pam Loeb from Edge Research shared some highlights during Steve Maclaughlin’s NP Voices podcast. Listen in on the conversation here

The key takeaways from their discussion?

  • Boomers have fully taken the reins from the previous generation as the primary source of charitable giving and will remain the primary source for the foreseeable future. They should be the number one generational objective for most organizations.
  • Among Boomers, they are as likely to have said they have given online as they are to have said they have given via direct mail. They could possibly be the last generation for which direct mail will do the fundraising heavy lift.
  • Generations have different preferences to how they leverage their workplace for charitable giving. Gen Y and Gen X are more likely to engage in charitable activity through work by volunteering and participating in peer to peer fundraising activities. Boomers are more interested in giving via a payroll deduction.

A smart approach to a balanced generational fundraising strategy is prioritizing generational outreach in direct proportion to how much those generations are giving to you. But Mark cautions that Gen Y and Gen X won’t be profitable for many years to come. While donors tends to establish their relationship with organizations in their 30’s, that financial pay off won’t happen for 15 more years.

So how can you engage Gen X and Gen Y now to create a solid foundation for your organization’s future?

  • Be clear about the impact donations make. The expectation  is much higher amongst Gen Y and Gen X that organizations get concrete about where donations go and how they make a difference. What’s the straight line between the dollar a donor gives and the outcome that makes the world a better place?
  • Consider testing the crowd funding waters. 17% of Gen Y donors report giving to a crowd funding campaign with half wanting to do so in the future.
  • Engage them as brand ambassadors. Gen Y is twice as likely as the mature generation to think that spreading the word makes a difference. 2/3 of Gen Y are comfortable talking about charities they support vs. less than half of Boomers and matures. Further Gen Y are 5x as more likely to follow a charity on Facebook.

Want to learn more? Mark and Pam will be speaking in Washington DC at BBCON 2013 on Tuesday, October 1.