Baby Boomers More Valuable to Nonprofits than Ever

Baby Boomers Get Older but Don't Lose their Edge

Baby Boomers taking a selfie on their bikes.
••• Hero Images/Getty Images

It began in 2011. That's when the leading edge of the Baby Boom generation began turning 65.

Over the next couple of decades, 79 million baby boomers celebrate their 65th birthdays. That's approximately 10,000 per day, according to the Pew Charitable Trust.

It isn't the end of their importance to philanthropy, but just the beginning. 

Do you want to capture the wealth and volunteer potential of this generation?

Here are six things your organization should know about Baby Boomers as they age.

  1. Are Baby Boomers gloomy or optimistic?
    AARP found Boomers to be optimistic.  But, the Pew Research Center concluded that Baby Boomers are glum and pessimistic. So much for surveys! But, social science has found that people become happier as they age. Take advantage of that age advantage. Show the glum that they can make the world a better place. And help the more joyous express their optimism by supporting your cause.    
  2. Don't think that Baby Boomers are all alike. 
    Their generation covers a 19-year span. Younger Boomers are different than older ones. But there's one thing you can count on. People crossing the 65-year threshold went through a cultural earthquake. They are not frightened by change. But they are, perhaps, more adaptable than most other generations. They've seen enough change to fill a history book. Don't tiptoe around them. Give them the information they need, tell them your opinion, ask them to help.
  1. Baby Boomers are wiser and more generous
    Flash and noise will not impress them. Take your time, give them the facts, show how they can make a difference. Baby Boomers represent what Jeff Brooks calls the "mother lode" of fundraising. People become more generous as they age. It's natural.
  2. Baby Boomers are in great shape, but they don't see that well. Bifocals anyone? 
    When did you last look at your website through an aging Boomer's eyes? Is the type large enough? Is there enough white space? Is it time to let go of the black background with white type? Take a page from marketers of products for older consumers. Think about readability online and in your printed material.
  1. Baby Boomers do not think they are old. Readjust your attitude about aging. Boomers and seniors always think "old" is about 10-15 years older than their age. Learn to see gray as beautiful and wrinkles as distinguishing. Don't make fun of older adults.
  2. Look for Baby Boomers on social media. Fifty-two percent of older Baby Boomers (age 60-69) use Facebook.They have mobile phones, iPads, and read their books on Kindles. Start moving away from direct mail to integrated campaigns that make full use of social media.

Whatever you do, don't forget Baby Boomers! Even as they age, this generation will likely surprise you with its generosity and energy.