Twenty-somethings Could Be a Donor Tailwind

Last week, there was a fascinating article talking about 20-24 year olds being the largest cohort in the US. There's a lot that comes with such a large, young demographic that in just a few years will likely be driving a boom in childbirths and home purchases.

Traditionally, we think of younger alumni as drivers of participation metrics; though a bit less so as sources of significant real dollars. It's logical: young people make less money and thus have less giving capacity.

So, we just want them to do something for their alma mater. Right? RIGHT?

Well, yes and no. Participation is about a lot of things - driving engagement, building a culture of giving between young alumni and their alma mater, and, well, rankings.

But, with such a rapid upcoming acceleration of younger alumni wealth, there's something else we need to be thinking about: evidencing for young alumni the impact of more significant gifts. When we build a culture of giving, then, we should be as focused on an alum giving anything as we can be on the size of that gift. As they mature, we'll have an opportunity to see five figure gifts come from alumni we'd normally only expect smaller participation type gifts come from.

Should you ask a 24 year old to give $1,000? Probably not. But if the average gift you hope to receive from a 24 year old grad is $50, perhaps it's time to ask: how do we compel these younger alumni to think bigger about what they give? Is the goal number $100? $300? Only your data can reveal that, but it's time to think beyond participation with young alumni because very soon they'll be in a position to give big.

Will they be thinking about big gifts for their alma mater when that time comes?

Nick Zeckets