Get them while they’re young

It’s not news that developing donor loyalty in your younger donors helps keep them as donors as they age. While they may not have much money now (Hi there!), one day, they will (fingers crossed).

And there are some really great initiatives to get young donors involved in organizations.

The Royal Ontario Museum has its Young Patrons’ Circle and the Art Gallery of Ontario has its AGONext. And boy, do both groups look awesome. Special events, rubbing shoulders with the city’s glitterati, discounts, previews, receptions…

For both, the cheapest option is $600.

You may have gleaned from the title of my last post, that this is a tad out of my reach.

As a young, not-rich donor, I do feel left out. And I do, genuinely, want to give these organizations my money. And even if I decided to commit to the $600 entry membership fee, I would be going on my own. My immediate circle of friends and family are not likely to be as committed as I am, so even less likely to sign up and accompany me.

Just because I don’t have oodles of money now doesn’t mean I won’t in the future. Offering me a more entry-level opportunity is really an investment, and you’ll be stewarding my support over a longer period of time.

At the AGO’s Heart to Art, it was clear that traditional memberships just don’t work for young professionals. Our time commitments are different and the value we derive from memberships have shifted. But we like events. We like behind-the-scenes. And while a smaller event isn’t going to bring in as much money as a big-ticket one, it can be really useful to build a relationship with younger donors.

For $30, all I want is a glass of wine, some nibbles, and an excuse to dress up. $40. $50 even!  And I will feel like I got more value from this experience than I would from a membership. You get my money and loyalty, I get to feel special, everybody wins.

What do you think? Am I asking too much? Or are organizations overlooking a possibly lucrative donor segment?



5 thoughts on “Get them while they’re young

  1. Pingback: Ode to my favourite fundraising event: The Tweed Ride | emmajenkin

  2. Pingback: Donor tips from a broke chick: Micro-philanthropy | emmajenkin

  3. ” Am I asking too much? ” I love your humility and sense of dialogue here Emma!

    Other passionate youth demand so much more, I think what you’re asking for is very reasonable and there needs to be a tier of event-engagement for young passionate donors.

    I used to hear, when you’re young you have ideas and time, when you’re older you have experience and money. Give, receive, repeat.

    I’ll share my pet peeve, the $200 ticket event as you mentioned. I don’t go, even when the ticket is free because I don’t agree with this method of fundraising. Enter @Timeraiser – An event respectful of the income and ability of young professionals – you want $40 tickets? Try $10

    Affordable drinks, hipster venue ( I am not a hipster as displayed by my use of the word hipster ) and art on offer for the donation of….TIME! Tried it myself last year and had a great experience

    Love the blog, it’s so clean and beautiful. Are those your pictures?!

    • Thanks for commenting! I am also a huge fan of Timeraiser (will be attending this year in fact). Young donors who don’t necessarily have the funds for gifts or events can find great reward in the giving of their time.

      Many organizations do a great job of developing and providing meaningful volunteer opportunities. Some organizations, I fear, don’t fully understand the time and resources required to receive volunteers.

      Envelope stuffing is all well and good, but skilled volunteers can be a valuable resource, it just takes more work to prep the work environment for them.

      Fortunately by virtue of being at Timeraiser, those organizations have thought (one assumes) long and hard about the roles for which they need volunteers, the selection process involved, the skills they need and how to put them to the best use.

      And alas, these are not my pictures. But I will be adding my own shortly!

  4. Pingback: Donor Tips from a Broke Chick: [Don't] Forget the 20-Somethings | emmajenkin

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