Engaging the Next Generation of Donors

Engaging the Next Generation of Donors

In Moses’ last recorded speech to the Israelites, he re-emphasizes that they should love God with all of their heart, soul, and strength. He then tells God’s chosen people to pass this on to the next generation – to “impress” this lesson on their children. Moses understood the importance of reaching the younger generation for Christ for the ongoing spread of the gospel.

In recent years, we have seen a continual decline in church attendance, particularly among younger generations. Yet studies show that younger generations have a spiritual curiosity and interest. The question is how to turn that interest towards a local church. A new study by The Barna Group, called The Trust Factor: Connecting & Communicating With Young Donors, sheds light on that question.

The Trust Factor reveals disturbing views among younger generations. Consider these facts:

  • More than two in five Gen Z believe nonprofits (45%) or churches (43%) should play a “major role” in addressing areas of injustice. Yet about one-quarter “strongly trusts” either Christian churches (27%) or non-profits (25%) to be fair and honest. As it stands, just 29 percent feel that churches are “definitely” making an impact on poverty and justice.
  • But a rising number of younger generations lack trust in religious organizations. Gen Z, in particular, does not trust nonprofit organizations, with 18% saying they do not trust religious organizations. Nearly one in five Millennials (18%) also feel this way.
  • Nearly one in five Gen Z and Millennials say they do not trust churches at all with their financial support.

The Trust Factor shows we have a lot of work to do to gain younger generations’ confidence and trust. Their report states, “Gaining the trust of young donors and volunteers may require more work than it used to. It also poses the worthwhile challenge of building the foundations of relationship, transparency, efficacy, and personal connection.”1.

Not all of the Trust Factor report is discouraging. Among the more hopeful findings is how younger generations prefer and trust online giving. The Trust Factor comments, “At this point, online security feels more settled in the minds of younger generations who reveal higher levels of confidence in online giving methods. Gen Z, in particular, have experienced early immersion in technology and feel more comfortable with these conveniences becoming part of their approach to generosity.” They report, “When it comes to donating digitally, in a generic sense, young people have few hang-ups.” Consider,

  • Two in five Gen Z and Millennials strongly believe their digital donations will make a difference (41% and 38%) and be used effectively (39% and 36%). 
  • About one in three “agree strongly” that donations will reach their destination (37% and 40%) and their information will be protected (35% and 33%).

The Trust Factor summarizes their findings well in this quote: “When churches and charities leverage digital tools for donations, their approach to building trust must be two-pronged to be multigenerational (and thus sustainable). First, they should help analog donors understand and feel confident using new sites and apps to steward their charitable giving. Second, they should maintain their commitment to showing the efficacy and impact of online donations.”

This report confirms what we have long known: having confidence in digital donations is one of the key reasons younger people give. We take security measures seriously. Here is a post that talks about how secure giving is through our site: https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/seriously-secure-giving

The Trust Factor report matches what we are finding. The pandemic hastened the move towards digital giving out of necessity. We contend that this migration would have occurred without the pandemic, as commerce has been moving in this direction for some time. Now, however, it is clear there is no turning back. To connect with and maintain the financial support of younger generations, you must have a robust digital donation platform. This is one reason why we offer multiple ways through which people can give. If you want to attract younger people, you must allow them to engage with you through the means they most like. Our platform and tools are designed to help you engage with younger generations. For a free demonstration, contact us at (615) 206-4000 or support@onlinegiving.org.

Let us help you engage and cultivate the next generation of donors!

The above was first posted at https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/engaging-the-next-generation-of-donors

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