Has Nonprofit Social Media Forgotten Seniors?

Has Nonprofit Social Media Forgotten Seniors?

Exclusive changedfw.com guest post by: Ephraim Gopin – @fundraisinisfun

Is 65 the age of donor retirement?

I’m pretty sure it’s not- nonprofits will happily accept donations from anyone, regardless of age.

But what of our efforts to market, find and retain donors via social media?

Everyone’s a donor today- kids do causes for birthdays, teens start nonprofits and Gen X, Gen Y and the youngest baby boomers donate through a myriad of online and offline avenues. We market thru Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, mobile phones etc.

But what about the 65+ age group, especially recently retired baby boomers? I have seen tons of fundraising campaigns via social media- but none aimed at this specific group.

I asked friends, nonprofit professionals, development directors, consultants and more and none of them could recall a single social media campaign geared towards retired persons.

Why not? Probably because:

■  They’re not as computer literate as their children/grandchildren

■  They’re not on social media

■  Even if they’re social mediaphiles, their friends aren’t. This means that people 65+ will not spread the word to their friends about your organization’s campaign

■ They’re using social media to keep in touch with family and see pictures of their grandchildren- and nothing else


All good and valid reasons. But that’s a LARGE group of potential donors to be neglecting. Think about it:

- They’re the fastest growing group on Facebook (and yes cynics- of course! They were never on in the first place and are just discovering it. But in the immortal words of Leslie Nielsen, That’s not important right now)

- They are recently retired or in the process. Pension and retirement plans are starting to kick in. The money is potentially there even for a small donation

- They’ve given to charity many times over the years. Why not try to reach them via social media and hook them in?

- They are starting to consider what they will bequeath to their families and what will be their legacies. Planned giving anyone? Yes- orgs. should be starting this process years before retirement. But, as the famous Jewish saying goes, If not now, when???

- People are living longer, meaning odds are (we hope) they’ll join the social media craze sooner or later- especially to keep up with younger family members

OK, so you’re not hooked. I see the development directors out there saying their bosses will never go for it because of the almost non-existent ROI. I hear social media experts saying it’s best to aim efforts at the biggest groups that are connected- 20-50 year olds.

Fine. Agreed. But how do you justify just throwing away $$ from millions of potential donors? Is snail mail really the only way to reach them?

So here’s a different approach: The boss reluctantly agrees to let you run a social media campaign targeting local seniors. The economic crisis has created a sense of panic among many retired persons and they may be afraid to part with what they consider to be their meager life savings. Ask them to volunteer!

- They have time to offer your constituents- they are healthier, living longer and looking for ways to keep busy

- They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table

- They may become your organization’s best ambassadors and help you find donors

- They may eventually become donors themselves


I know ALL the reasons not to. But what reasons can you give FOR trying to reach retired persons via social media?

Just remember: the oldest person on Twitter died just last year. Her age? 104.

Related Read

Ephraim loves the world of fundraising and enjoys being a nonprofit professional. Follow him on Twitter and learn more about the nonprofit world.

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