Shawn Reed, Executive Vice President  ●  1/27/2020

Engage Younger Donors Without Sacrificing Your Mature Supporters

How does The Salvation Army cultivate a younger audience without alienating your current base?

In a word: ENGAGE!  The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that some charities have identified game-streaming as a way to entice interest from younger audiences.  The Non-Profit Times offers suggestions on how to entice millennial donors, and online giving platform Classy has weighed in on how different generations are giving. 

Truly, every marketing and fundraising magazine and blog has dedicated time and space to this topic, and for good reason: generations are changing.  The Salvation Army, in particular, needs to understand this, and become more intentional in planning for the future donor groups to engage now.


There is good news!  As the chart below indicates, the sheer volume of people who will be in their “prime philanthropy years” in the decades ahead will actually increase.  The challenge will be to make sure that we engage support and understanding now, while the next generational groups of donors are establishing relationships with the organizations they want to support.

Generation Ages The Ringer

For The Salvation Army to continue impacting the world, support from ALL generations will be needed, as it has always been. 


Here are 3 ways to engage younger donors and get them excited about your important work:

  1. Communicating relevance on global, national, and local scales.  The life-changing work of The Salvation Army is, and always will be, the reason others will engage.
  2. Engagement without financial donations (to start) — Getting the attention of emerging generations will require thinking creatively about how to grow legacy programs (Red Kettle volunteers, Angel Tree) and add new ones (events, peer-to-peer, crowd-funding projects).
  3. Many Channels, One Army — The average donor doesn’t understand Divisional boundaries, how the ARC is separate, or the distinction between Commands, Corps, and Service Units.  We need to project a unified message — in all channels — from a central, collaborative strategy.


What other tips do you have to cultivate GenX, millennial, and even GenZ(!) donors? Email us, and your idea might show up in a future The Ringer article.


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