digital seniors

Rethinking your donor engagement strategy? Start here.

As summer comes to a close, we’ve rounded up the hottest nonprofit sector stories, data, and trends to help take your fall fundraising efforts to new heights.

1. Not just for retail: The surge in BNPL can make giving more accessible

Square’s recent $28B acquisition of Afterpay solidified a key trend: “Buy now, pay later” has reached the masses. Top BNPL apps like Klarna, Afterpay, and Affirm have seen 46% year-over-year install growth, and monthly active users climbed by 186%. Which has us thinking: what makes these apps so enticing to users, and how can we apply similar strategies to fundraising?

If you haven’t used a BNPL service before, the first thing you will notice is ease of use. Prequalification, dynamic price messaging and adaptive checkout all make the transaction seamless and fast. Similarly, Classy’s 2021 “State of Modern Philanthropy” reports 60% of gifts on their platform were made in under one minute–a great benchmark to use when evaluating your own checkout process. Another way to ease friction and influence gift size is to recommend donation amounts in your content! Start by identifying your median donation size and build your form around that.

Second, the ability to spread out payments into more manageable installments was the most cited reason for choosing the method (Source: Buy Now, Pay Later: The Financial Self-Care Revolution Report). While use of is popular across generations, a recent study found “more than 26% of millennials and nearly 11% of Gen Z consumers had tapped BNPL to finance their most recent online purchases, compared to only 7.5% of older generations who had done the same.” How are you facilitating installment payments over time for your donors, particularly the younger ones who may not be able to afford a large up-front gift?

Speaking of younger folks…

2. Reach donors in real-time with livestreaming

Livestreaming has exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic to become a mainstream form of media, especially among young audiences.

According to CNBC, Twitch saw 96% year-over-year streaming time growth in Q3 2020. While the platform is primarily known for its focus on video games, recently its most popular content has been non-gaming livestreams. According to Twitch, the category “Just Chatting,” a non-gaming section, averaged 318,000 viewers in July. For some organizations, livestreaming has presented an opportunity to forge more personalized interactions with viewers.

For example, Marine Mammal Rescue has a 24-hour livestream of sea otters that averages around 1,000 live viewers at any given time. It says, “while the aquarium hopes the stream will inspire donations and boost trips to the facilities, it doesn’t profit directly from the stream.”

Nonprofit organizations have started using livestreaming not only to raise awareness about their organization and their mission but also as a way to raise funds.

Another excellent example is the partnership between YouTube star “Matpat” and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, who created a star-studded livestream during the past two Giving Tuesdays to help raise over $3M. The result not only surpassed the previous year’s livestream by $2M, but increased brand awareness of the St. Jude organization, as over 21 million people have viewed the livestream since the initial event.

In addition to raising awareness and fundraising, nonprofit organizations can leverage livestreaming to host events, report on mission milestones and start valuable conversations around significant issues, all while allowing supporters to participate and stream live video themselves. Meeting your audience where they are might mean Twitch for younger audiences, but for older donors and volunteers YouTube might be the most effective platform.

3. Digital seniors are more connected than ever before

“I love YouTube! I’m a YouTube fanatic. I get up in the morning and get on YouTube.”
– 64-year-old (Source: Google/Known, U.S., Digital Seniors, n=4,415 A55+, 2020.)

Google conducted research into the digital habits of older adults and found that a majority of online seniors spend at least six hours a day online and own an average of five devices. And according to the Pew Research Center, about 80% of Americans 55 and over are online.

A new group of seniors is on the rise, causing marketers who have traditionally relied on older adults’ affinity for television and print media to shift their strategies in order to connect with these “digital seniors.” So how can you begin to reach them?

  • Get reacquainted: Narrow in on your personas to truly understand your audience and avoid stereotypes: When is the last time you talked to your audience base? Listened to them and heard their story? This article from Contently recently reminded us to go back and touch base with our personas, get to know them, and turn them into our muses.
  • Broaden your reach: Understand your allies, donors, and volunteers and expand your marketing mix accordingly. Google Grants is always a great option to get free advertising dollars and run campaigns across paid search, display, and YouTube.

One fun thing for the awesome folks who make it down this far:

Many of us at Grafik have been reading Adam Grant’s “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know,” a book aimed at encouraging us to think twice, question our deep seeded beliefs, and encourage others to the same. If you’re looking to round out your summer reading list or want to push yourself and your work to be better, we highly recommend this book.

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