A Guest Post by Catalist's Brittany Hill
In today’s ever-changing climate, consumer and philanthropic choices are extending beyond demographic borders. Segments of Boomers are shopping like Millennials, while typical disengaged Gen Xers have a newfound passion for innovation like the young Founders (the generation on the heels of Millennials). Knowing who your constituents are – from demographics to psychographics, from lifestyles to brand affinities – is becoming a crucial part of the cause and commerce conversation.
Because of this, at Catalist, we wanted to know more about the generational differences that could shape partnerships between the two sectors in 2017. In conducting research on Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers, we found they certainly have different preferences and therefore justify customized engagement. But, we also found they all are very passionate about giving back to social causes – they may just do it in different ways. Let’s take a quick look at each generation…
The Millennial Donor: a smart, scrutinizing social consumer (born 1982 – 2000)
With a strong sphere of influence, Millennials are passionate about social causes, sports, comedy and technology, and enjoy cycling and running. As NPR listeners, they are educated consumers of media that also like television shows like Girls and Parks & Recreation. Their concern for social impact can been seen in their favorite brands like Warby Parker, Seamless and ModCloth to name a few.
- 29% of Millennials are stay-at-home moms with children 5 and under
- Greatest influencers include theSkimm and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls
- They are more likely than other generations to give online and at the register
- Their top 3 favorite causes are:
- Gender Equality
- Human Rights
- Health (Cancer)
Generation X: a passionate and powerful consumer often overlooked (born 1965-1981).
As Gen Xers come into their prime, they are now attracting the interest of marketers from brands like American Express, Apple and Emirates Airlines. And now, they should also pique the interest of nonprofits looking to partner with these brands. According to Catalist’s Method.Medium.Motivation study, Gen Xers are more likely than their generational counterparts to donate at the register and to volunteer for a cause. When we took a deeper look into their psyche, we also found that Gen Xers are:
- Extremely Connected and Influential – Over 10% of the age group is considered “High” influencers (more than 100+ active social connections).
- Super Shoppers – Nearly 40% earn over $125k per year and have an affinity toward fine jewelry and luxury brands.
- Passionately Philanthropic – Some of their greatest influencers are charitable organizations, and they like to give back to health, education and hunger causes.
Baby Boomers: a politically-charged, mindful altruist (born 1946-1964)
The Boomer Generation (born approximately between 1946 – 1964) is often associated with the counterculture of the 1960s, the civil rights movement, and the “second-wave” feminist cause of the 1970s. But they are also known for excessive spending, and rightfully so! There are 76 million Baby Boomers in American who control over 80% of personal financial assets and more than half of all consumer spending. While many attribute the expectation of corporate social responsibility to the Millennial generation, one could argue that their parents – the Baby Boomer – could actually be responsible for such activity because of the ideals and passion for social impact they have raised their children with. While Boomers are very diverse and one is not like the other, we extracted a few commonalities from an analysis around their lifestyle, brand and philanthropic preferences. Did you know…
- Boomers are 9.5x more likely than other generations to give to charitable causes
- Boomers are more likely to give to a cause because of a personal connection
- Nearly 1/5 of Boomers have a returning child (a Millennial) at home, which could influence many of their purchasing and cause engagement decisions
- Their favorite causes are politically-charged, saving the planet and supporting health advancements
All great partnerships have common missions, but as you peel back the layers, they also share constituents who are passionate about giving back and supporting companies that do the same. Consider ways you can fill your pipeline with the brands and mouthpieces that matter most to your target donor. Once you understand who your audience is in depth, how they want to participate in social good, and what will encourage them to share their actions – you will be able to win the right partners for your cause and create a game-changing partnership campaign strategy!