By Gina Calvert

Stop Pigeonholing Your Generational Givers (Know Them)

We (the faith world) have put generational givers under a microscope for at least a decade. It’s been very educational and even beneficial to understand the differences in demographics, but could there be flaws in this pursuit, too?

For example, is every Millennial a caricature of the worst traits of that demographic? Does every Boomer deserve to hear “OK, Boomer” for their every viewpoint? (Hint: The answers are NO) Could our messaging miss the mark when we pigeonhole people by their age? (Hint: The answer is YES)

How can we understand our givers without stereotyping?

This is part 6 of our 11 Commandments of Online Giving series. Download the guide or start the blog series here.


Don’t Underestimate Your Baby Boomers.

Ever since the early days of online giving, churches have focused on Gen Y. The world has relentlessly elaborated on this cohort’s unique differences. And we’ve summed them up in unfair ways at times.

For example, many Millennials do believe giving of their time is the same as giving of their money. At the same time, they’re (as a whole) also significantly less wealthy than their parents were at the same age (about 1/5 as wealthy). So pinning all your financial hopes on this group may not be prudent.

The New Senior Demographic

Boomers are rapidly moving into the senior slot, with 10,000 of them turning 65 every day.

What are some generalizations you’ve made about Baby Boomers:

  • They’re not very internet savvy?
  • They’re not interested in leading in church ministries?
  • They’re already giving generously?
  • They can’t afford to give generously?

The fact is, none of these are true across the board for Boomers. Here’s what is true in general:

  • This generation currently holds the greatest amount of wealth. They hold 53%, while Millennials hold 4.6%. (Source)
  • Baby Boomers approach retirement more actively than any previous generation.
  • Some Boomers are turning to church for the first time, as their perspectives shift with age.

Many in this generation do believe giving financially is the best way to show their support. But don’t assume they are already focusing their resources on the church. They want to have an impact and a voice, and if they can’t do that in their church, those funds and that passion will find another recipient. You must ensure they have that opportunity.

Our Ministry-First Approach to Generosity resource provides 26 tactics for connecting with givers based on their giving behavior, not their age.

How Vision2 Helps with Every Generation of Giver

Vision2 was designed to enable churches to identify patterns in giving far beyond age demographics and then to automate customized communications in order to speak to each type of giver in their language. There’s no stereotyping based on age!

This type of personalization helps them feel known, appreciated and hopefully, inspired to give again.

Want to learn more? Reach out to us with your questions or comments.