When you are compiling a target donor list, what factors do you consider? Age?  Income Bracket?  Education Level?  These are just a few of the key demographics that might top your list.  And, while they are important, a new study released at the Direct Marketing Association New York Nonprofit Conference has introduced a surprising new element into the mix.

As it turns out, this study shows that the single most important factor to influence giving is whether or not a person’s parents were involved in charitable causes.  

How important is setting a charitable example? 

Well an August 25th article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy may say it best:

“Parental involvement in nonprofits increases the odds of a child becoming a donor by more than 80 percent; with parents who don’t, there’s only a 25 percent chance the child will grow up to be a donor, the study found.” 

Over 80%!

Just think about that number for a moment.  That means that more than 4 out every 5 children of your current donor pool will grow up to contribute to various nonprofit fundraising organizations.  And many of those organizations will be the exact same, or very similar to, the organizations that they watched their parents give to when they were children. 

Lisa McIntyre, senior vice president for strategy development for Russ Reid had this to say on the matter:

“Nonprofits can build their donor pools of tomorrow by encouraging adults to volunteer their time at an organization, to talk to their kids about nonprofits they support, or to give money to their church.”

Now, while it may be difficult to target which of your current donors are parents, you do have the power to enhance your future donor pool by focusing your special events fundraising efforts on family friendly activities.  By reaching out into the community and targeting families, even those with very young children, not only are you securing funding for current projects, but you are also protecting the future of your organization.

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