We thank the Chronicle of Philanthropy for their in-depth coverage of our latest study The Missing Middle Part Four.

Read the full write up in the Chronicle here.

Below is a short excerpt…

Midlevel Donors Are Older but Started Early

The report found that 53 percent of midlevel donors have been giving to the charity they support for 10 years or more. These donors also tend to be older; the lion’s share are either baby boomers (61 percent) or members of the silent generation (21 percent). Only 13 percent are Generation X, and 5 percent are millennials and Gen Z.

Chronicle of Philanthropy Chart showing engagement age

It’s important to understand that midlevel donors have been with your organization for a while, says Alia McKee, principal at Sea Change Strategies. The survey found most midlevel donors connected with their favorite causes when they were young; 72 percent engaged with their cause by the age of 39. The bulk of those people (42 percent) connected at age 20 to 39, while a smaller share (19 percent) connected in their teens, and the remainder (11 percent) found their cause at age 12 or younger.

The data shows it’s important to court younger donors, even if there isn’t an immediate payoff, because people are making lasting connections to charitable causes when they’re young, McKee says. She says she worked with a group that started a young professionals club for donors but disbanded it after a year because the revenue return wasn’t high enough. McKee cautions against that.

“Folks are measuring long-term engagement in 12-month cycles,” she says. “They’re making strategic decisions to cut those programs because they’re not seeing the return versus really taking a long view at what that relationship will look like when that donor ages into their prime giving years. Consider their lifetime value, including midlevel planned gifts, IRA gifts, all of the constellation of activities that folks will age into if you can keep them.”

Read the full article.

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