Tried-and-True Methods for Reaching Older Donors: A Quick Guide

Himanshu Sareen, an Indian entrepreneur and corporate executive, is the founder and CEO of Icreon, an IT consultancy and software solutions firm with offices in the U.S., UK and India.

With the rise of intuitive touch-based computing and streamlined user interfaces, technology is more accessible to different age groups than ever before. And when it comes to nonprofit fundraising, these improvements have proven to be a huge boon. As of now, nearly 3 out of 5 donors age 66 and older make donations via the web.

Even though recent viral movements like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge have shifted focus to younger generations, it’s the older donors that are still the bread and butter of most nonprofit donations. For many organizations, there should be a distinct focus on making their websites appeal to older donors. But there are a few things to note before strategizing to help out older donors.

Don’t Underestimate Adaptability

First off, it’s important for organizations to note that even though their older users need a bit of extra care when it comes to accessibility, they’re far from being technologically illiterate. Studies show that in recent years, older users have proven to be very adaptable when it comes to new technologies and are just as likely to donate online as their younger counterparts.

The tough part is to cater to these older audiences while still creating a digital experience that appeals to younger constituents. The first way to do this is by adding accessibility options for your older donors. A few design details in particular, like font size and page navigation, are critical in accomplishing this. According to Nielsen’s usability tests of users aged 65 and over, older citizens require larger typography, with 12-point fonts (and higher) working best. But the larger text size doesn’t have to be a default; MIT’s AgeLab, for instance, features a text size toggle bar at the top of the page.

Construct Clear and Concise Navigation

Another way to appeal to older donors is to keep your site navigation clear and concise. Try not to make frequent site and design changes, as these tend to frustrate older users and make your site more difficult to follow for regular users. On top of this, make sure you’re prominently featuring all of your most common actionable functions. If you have a “donate” button, make it clearly visible on every page. This will make it easy for users to interact with your site. Plus, it’s a great way to convert potential donors.

Be Willing to Adjust Social Media Strategy

Finally, don’t be afraid to adjust your social media strategy to reach out to older users. In the past few years, the baby boomer demographic has grown dramatically on social media, with 70 percent of boomers having established a Facebook presence and 40 percent of those using the site on a regular basis. When looking to engage baby boomers, prioritize Facebook over platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, which are far less popular among the boomer demographic. When creating content for these platforms, be sure to use stories and lots of images, as these will have the most appeal to audiences across all age ranges.

For more information on how to appeal to your older donors, as well as an in-depth guide on non-profit technology, check out Icreon’s free eBook “Telling Your Story: A Quintessential Guide to Nonprofit Technology.”


Senior donors

Himanshu Sareen

February 25, 2015

You May Also Enjoy

Two professionals shake hands, representing a business and nonprofit partnership
Sponsorship v. Donations: The Drawbacks and Benefits

Sponsorship v. Donations: The Drawbacks and Benefits

Needing money is a common denominator among all nonprofits. We may do different things, serve different causes, or even operate in different areas of the world. However, we all need funds. Two of the tried-and-true methods for raising dough, sponsorships, and charitable donations, can cause a lot of confusion. Here’s your guide to keeping them straight and also maximizing their ability to support your mission.

Become a Member

Whether you’re with a large team or a solo entrepreneur looking to start the next great cause, we have a membership package that will help you grow your network and your cause.