In this webinar, Sophie Penney will show you what makes each generation tick and how you can connect in ways that they seek.

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right, Sophie, my watch just struck 1:00. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started?

Sophie: Yes. Yep.

Steven: All right. Awesome. Well, good afternoon, everyone, if you’re on the East Coast. I should say good morning, if you’re on the West Coast. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “So Many Generations, So Little Time!” My name is Steven Shattuck, and I’m the chief engagement officer over here at Bloomerang. And I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always.

And just a couple of housekeeping items before we get going here. Just want to let you all know that we are recording this session. And we’ll be sending out the recording as well as the slides later on this afternoon if you didn’t already get those. So if you have to leave early or if you get interrupted or just want to watch the content again and maybe share it with a colleague, don’t worry, we’ll get you the recording this afternoon. Just look for an e-mail from me with all that good stuff in it.

But most importantly, if you’re listening today, please feel free to use that chat box right there on your webinar screen. We’re going to try to save some time for Q&A at the end. So don’t be shy, send in your questions and in your comments, introduce yourselves in the chat now, if you haven’t already. We always love to know kind of who we’re talking to. And there may be some interactive opportunities during the presentation as well. So don’t sit on those hands. Don’t be shy. We’d love to hear from you throughout. You can also do that on Twitter. I’ll keep an eye on the Twitter feed for questions and comments there.

And then one last note, if you have any trouble hearing us through your computer, we find that the audio by phone is usually little bit better quality. So if you’ve got a phone nearby, and if that’ll be comfortable for you, if you don’t mind using that, try dialing into the webinar that way rather than giving us on it entirely. There is a phone number in the e-mail from ReadyTalk that went out about an hour ago that should connect it to the presentation if you have any trouble.

If this is your first Bloomerang webinar, just want to say an extra special welcome to all you folks. We do these webinars just about every Thursday throughout the year. Bringing on great guest speakers. Today is no exception at all. But one of the most well-known things we’re known for a Bloomerang is are software. That’s kind of our core business. We offer donor management software. And if you are interested in that, or maybe thinking of switching next year, check us out. Check out our website. You can even watch a quick video demo and see the software in action.

But don’t do that right now. Wait at least an hour, because I am super excited to welcome my good friend, my buddy, Sophie Penny, joining us from beautiful Pennsylvania. Sophie, how you doing? Thanks for being here.

Sophie: I’m great. Thanks for inviting me, Steven.

Steven: Oh, yeah, this is well long overdue, for sure. Sophie, is my buddy. Every time I travel to fundraising conference in around Pennsylvania, I always hope that I’ll run into Sophie. I usually do. She’s a friend of the program, for sure, someone we definitely look to for awesome advice. And you’re going to get a lot of that over the next hour or so.

But I just want to brag on her real quick. If you don’t know her, follow her on Twitter. She writes some awesome blog posts. We’ll get you connected to all those things as well. She’s over at Penn State. She’s a senior program coordinator and lecturer. She does all the fundraising certificate programs over there. She’s also the founder and president of i5 Fundraising and is a prolific writer and speaker. Check out her books, including “Dollars for Dreams: Student Affairs Staff as Fundraisers” and the “Raising the Bar: Student Affairs Fundraising.” That one must be pretty new, Sophie. Did that just come out this year? Because I don’t have that one.

Sophie: It came out in March. Yeah.

Steven: March, okay. I got to pick that up. I’m going to order that while you’re speaking actually. But Sophie, I’m going to hand the reins over to you to tell us all about generations in fundraising, so the floor is yours, my friend. Take it away.

Sophie: Thank you so much. And I just want to put a plug in and it’s not paid. I can guarantee you that. But I’ve been a longtime admirer of Bloomerang. I’ve known them for many years. I’ve recommended them to clients. I don’t earn any money from doing that. I just think it’s a really terrific product and organization and group of people. I’ve read Jay Love’s work and heard him speak and heard Steven speak a number of times, just really smart and good people. So I very much appreciate being in this company.

So I see that we have people from all over the country here, and that’s great. One of the things I’m not going to do is ask what generation you’re from. So I just want to say that I’ve lived through several generations myself. And so I’ve had an opportunity to kind of live with some of the things that I’m talking about. Come from one very specific one, as I say here and the introductory slide, I am a Boomer, I live it, I am it and there are some things about that that I own and need to even if I don’t want to. But there are other things that I think I don’t.

And so that speaks to the fact that generations are not necessarily as siloed as we like to think. But I do want to start off by talking about different generations that exist. And one of these is the millennial generation we know but I’m going to go back to the bottom of the slide and all the way to the very bottom and first mentioned the Pew Research Center. If you are ever looking for data about a topic or information, Pew, which is located in Philadelphia is simply one of the most premier organizations in the United States. I don’t unfortunately have a corollary for Canada or maybe other parts of the world, but they are a phenomenal place to go and find data.

And this project is one as you can see that they were working on as of 2010. And obviously there’s more up to date information. But this was one of the ones I found. The G.I. Generation, actually some of them that are still with us. But this is a generation that is very much dying off. And they’ve been ones who have been . . . I’ll maybe talk about Generation Z, don’t worry, they’re on my slides.

But they are passing away at a very rapid pace. And so they’re a little less likely to be donors, certainly not usually in the workforce. So there are always those occasional people who work until they’re 100 by choice and because they love it.

The Silent Generation is a group of people who we don’t necessarily think about a lot. But it is a significant portion of the population not as big as you’ll see as when you get to Boomers.

The Boomer Generation up until Millennials came along was the largest generation of people in the United States. And it looks like Boomers are a little larger. When you look at these particular statistics that I’ve been understanding from recent things I’ve been reading that there are more Millennials than Boomers.

And you’ll see the Boomers are into different categories, but there are older Boomers. And this is important because when you think about workers, and when you think about donors, those older Boomers are generally people who are more likely to be retired or very close to retirement. Younger Boomers are probably still in the workforce, may want very much to work and be interested in continuing to do that.

And some of them as is the case, unfortunately, with Boomers, may simply find themselves having to work. You may or may not have heard different statistics about Boomers and working and saving for retirement, but a very large percentage, at least 25%. Some people argue more, have saved little or nothing or not nearly enough for retirement. So there will be this very large swath of people in the Boomer generation who will want to, in fact, even need to continue to work.

The millennial generation Generation X. Interestingly enough, I did this presentation at the last conference where Steven and I both were at the same venue. And I mentioned Generation X. And it was funny because someone who was in the room said, “You know, I just realized I’m Generation X, and I don’t even think about myself, when I’m thinking about generations.”

And so this is a group we don’t hear about a lot, because we hear so much about Boomers. And then we hear a lot about Millennials. But Generation X is a group of people who are very much in the workforce and people who are also very much at a stage in life, where they’re going to be the next generation, potentially of significant donors, at least those who have some resources. So we’ll talk a little bit more about these later. But I just want to give you a sort of overview. I want to talk about Generation Z. I know someone asked about that.

So what I want to talk about now are stereotypes. And you’re going to say to me, “Why are you talking about stereotypes? They’re so horrible.” I’m not talking about them to reinforce them. I’m talking about them. Because stereotypes are something we simply all have, we all possess. And there’s something that we need to talk about overtly and think about when we’re working among our own organization or within our own organization among our workforce. But we also need to think about it as we reach out to people as well too when we think about donors.

And the Silent Generation or older people in the older generation. These are some of the kinds of stereotypes that we think about that people are old fashioned. So you’re seeing this person who’s on a landline and thinking, “Oh, my God who uses a landline anymore?” Well, I can tell you that, you know, I have family members who are in their ’80s and they use landlines. It’s just what they came up with, it’s what they know, it’s what they’re comfortable with. It’s not necessarily that they’re unwilling to embrace anything new. They in some cases just don’t even see a need to do that or to go to the expense.

Sometimes older generations are also seen as being rigid, as not being willing to change their way, so to speak, as it says at the next one–hate change. But the reality is that in every generation, there are people of all types. There are early adopters of technology and organization in the Silent Generation. There are people who don’t ever really want to or never really will feel comfortable with technology.

There are other people who are very flexible, who are older generation. And I say that in part because I was the director of development for a retirement community for seven years. And the vast majority of people who lived there were not only over 65, they were generally over 70 or even older. And I can tell you that those folks were far more flexible in some cases than some of the younger people with whom I’ve worked in my life. Sometimes it was because that was just who they were. They’re very flexible people. And other cases, it was because they had to be, that life changed. And they had to sort of roll with the punches. And so they did. And some of them really just enjoy things that are different.

If you have any thoughts about other sorts of stereotypes that come to your mind, I welcome you to share them in the chat box. As I see them, I’ll try to read a few. Again, I want to just reinforce I’m not trying to reinforce stereotypes. I’m simply trying to say that I want people to think about the stereotypes that they hold in their mind when you think about generations.

So the next one are Boomers, this generation that I’m in. How many of you might say yes? How many of you heard the Boomers being called “The Me Generation”? You might just type a yes, or yes, I’ve heard that or whatever you might want in the chat box. I’m seeing some yeses, coming up. No. Okay. Some other yeses, a lot of yeses, more yeses and noes.

So this was very much the stereotype of Boomers. And it has continued to be though there’s a couple people who haven’t heard it. And part of this, of course, will depend how old you are and what generation you come from. But Boomers were seen as very self-centered, very self-focused, and very interested in only taking care of or acquiring things for themselves, and not being willing to think about the greater good.

Also, Boomers for many people were seen as being highly competitive, that they essentially wanted to win and win at all costs for their own benefit. And we, of course, are working in nonprofit organizations. I assume that that’s where most of you are. And we see ourselves as working for the world, as working for our communities, as working to benefit other people. And so it can become a real issue when we think about a person who’s focused only on me, but keep in mind again, this is a stereotype. Focus can be a good thing. But it also can be something that’s not because people may not be attending to other things they need.

And being goal oriented, again, can be a positive, and we’ll talk about that later. But sometimes it’s being goal oriented, to the detriment of anything else. And that just focusing on the goal, and not caring about the people or the world around you very much.

This becomes more evident when we talk about Generation X and some of the stereotypes around this generation. And I say that because the first item there is you see it talks about having a balanced life. So when you think about it, Generation X often were the children of Boomers. And so these folks were people who watched their parents or maybe it wasn’t their parents, but maybe it was an aunt, or uncle, or somebody in their family have what were considered to be not very balanced lives, people who spent the vast majority of their time at work.

If any of you are old enough to remember this song writer and singer Harry Chapin, you know, the song “Cats in the Cradle.” And you know, that he talks in that song about wanting to connect with his son, but for years and years and years, he worked on worked and worked as a parent, that is, and didn’t connect with his children and his son. And then when it got to the point in his life, where he wanted to connect with his son, his son was like, “Sorry too busy. And I have things going on in my life.” So sometimes these things are reactions to a previous generation.

But Generation X, some of the stereotypes are that they want balance and that they want the workplace to adjust, to provide that kind of balance. Again, self-reliant isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if you’re an organization that thrives on and relies on and really needs teamwork, it can be very important for people to not only be self-reliant.

Another reason that we want to think about this being a stereotype that can be a real issue for us, is that we may make the assumption that these are people who don’t want to work in teams, who don’t enjoy the opportunity to interface with other people, when in fact, it’s just that they’re committed to getting their own work done and more than happy to work with other people.

And being pragmatic, sometimes kind of being very matter of fact. And some people again, can see this as something where there’s kind of a rub and it can be an issue and a challenge. And communication among generations is where some of these things can come out and be a real challenge and a real issue. I just continue to invite you. I saw somebody mentioned that they heard some of the things I shared about Millennials.

You will find there is some overlap in generations and the reality is just that I’ve observed anyway, and as I read about this, in some cases, some of what goes around comes around, that things do sometimes tend to repeat in different generations and later generations. And sometimes it may be that we’re labeling generations with something that we think or that was true of our own generation. So we just need to keep those kinds of things in mind.

So Generation Y, Millennials. This picture of a baby is often one of the things a lot of us might hear about Millennials. And I feel so badly if you’re a Millennial. I’m so sorry. Because I have heard these incredibly negative stereotypes about Millennials and I find them to be not the case with the Millennials that I know in our community and with whom I’ve worked.

But there are people who feel like Millennials are sort of crybabies, they tend to be spoiled, that they’re not respectful of their elders, so to speak, or of other people, that they expect a lot. And I, you know, again, these are things that I think can really be a real issue and a challenge. And I do know, and I, you know, some people have said, and I know, there’s somebody who’s mentioning, I see it in my workplace, and you may see it in some cases, and I have observed it in some people.

I think the thing that I would say is that I have seen the same behavior across a pretty wide array of generations. Now, some of you may observe it more in certain generations. So I don’t mean to suggest that you’re wrong or inaccurate. I just want to suggest that there I think there can be some positives and we’ll talk about those in a bit.

So I’m going to end with Generation Z, and then we’re going to talk about work styles of different generations. So Generation Z, somebody asked about that earlier, because I hadn’t talked about them in the different generations. So there is a sense on people’s part that the workplace needs to conform to that generation to people. And, but work hard, but always expect a reward. I put that badge up there. We know that badges are often pretty popular these days. I know we talked about them with our certificate programs, and do we use badges or have the certificate or something else? I’m talking with some other people about some educational programs.

And the question is, do we provide badges? Because I believe it’s pretty common. I think it’s not necessarily wrong to reward people or make them feel good about what they do. Nor for people to expect it . I mean, somebody’s talking about in the chat about the fact that demanding, could also be thought of differently, as if they were just willing to ask for what they want and deserve and that’s not a bad thing, is it?

I’m a member of the American Association of University Women. AAUW has created a whole online series to help people negotiate salaries for jobs. And it’s really important because often people aren’t necessarily willing and AAUW primarily focuses on women. Women in particular, aren’t necessarily always willing to negotiate for what they’re worth and to ask for what they deserve based on their experience. So again, I think that’s a great comment, and I really appreciate it.

And some people are saying that participation is they should get an award for participating. Excuse me, and yes, I mean, I think sometimes that is the case. I have as occasionally observed that. But again, not always, I mean, I know some people in this generation who are very willing to put their heads down and work really hard. And you know, sometimes it is a matter of needing to say to people, you know, having a job and earning a salary is what you earn for doing the work.

So one of my questions is do the people in your organizations, do you think that people understand work styles of different generations? So, and I also want to stop here and ask if anybody has any questions or comments that they want to make about stereotypes. So I’m taking one person saying, nope, don’t understand work styles. We’re going to talk about those in a moment. But any questions about stereotypes? Are there others you feel like you understand work styles of different generations? I may just wait for a minute and see if anybody else puts anything in the chat. So far, people are saying “No, they don’t. Maybe that’s why they’re on this webinar.” And that’s okay, that makes that great.

Well, let’s go ahead on and so if you have comments, let’s please do go ahead and put them in the box. So let’s unpack these work styles. I do want to make a comment about this. I’m going to talk about donors later. Because I know so many of you work in nonprofit organizations. But I want to make a comment now before we talk about work styles. And also, as we talk about generations and bring that section to a close, one of the things that I think is really important to remember is that for a lot of our organizations, “our workforce,” includes people as well as many volunteers. I think that this is really important for us to keep in mind and to keep in mind, the fact that those people are interfacing with one another.

So when I talk about work styles and workforce, I would invite you to think as broadly as possible, and you might even put in the chat box, the degree to which your organization relies on volunteers. So do you have heavy reliance on volunteers? Do you not use volunteers? You know, how important are they to your organization? Okay, one saying 99%. So that’s huge, right? Another very heavy reliance, some don’t use any, some people are important, some not a lot. So, you know, I know that some programs are very volunteer driven. And there’s a pretty fair number of you. So this is good. I’m glad that I talked about making sure that you keep volunteers in mind.

So let’s talk about the pluses of generations and what they bring to the table. So the Silent Generation can bring teamwork, interpersonal skills, a respect for authority, and they’re known as hard workers. So these are people that you can potentially turn to when it comes to the point in time when you are trying to find that one person who’s able to work with other people, and maybe in some ways, is able to also bring other people to work together using their interpersonal skills.

Somebody just noted that most of their board of directors are the Silent Generation. So this is something else to keep in mind. Volunteers, of course, right, if they’re on your board. And these are people who can bring these kinds of things to the table. So they are willing to work hard. And I don’t mean to suggest other generations don’t necessarily, it’s just that these are things that this particular generation is known for bringing to the table.

So Boomers, you’ll see some of the things that I talked about as negatives, now here in positives and thinking about these pluses, as work styles that people bring to the table. So let me ask this question, how important is it that people in your organization be goal oriented? I’m going to ask you to actually answer that question. So very, somebody is saying “Very important.” Okay, we’re getting more of that.

Okay, drives the vision process very important. So that goal orientation matters a lot. So somebody just said that my board is all Boomer and younger. So that may be a little more difficult. So but this is a place where you might think about if you need people from other generations who maybe think differently, who aren’t necessarily as goal oriented. To be goal oriented or think about it. You might find a Boomer who’s able to talk about the value of goal orientation. I’m going to get I think, to Generation X, so I think they’re on my list. Somebody just asked about them. So I’m not done yet.

So I also think it’s really important to think about Boomers being optimists. I know I’ve been watching a lot of . . . my husband is there much enjoy rock music and he was in a band and he loves to watch programs about rock legend sort of folks and people who were pioneers in the music industry.

And I watched many of those along with him. And one of the things I will say is that I’ve seen so many of these people be real optimists, and we’re a nonprofit work, right? We are in the business of needing to be optimists. Somebody just said, “Hey, that’s me.” We’re in the business of being the optimist. And that’s particularly true with fundraising, and so I’m not meaning to say that bad things don’t happen. I’m not trying to be a Pollyanna. But we do want to try to believe that tomorrow will be better and that good things will happen. We have to because people’s lives depend on it, right? The great Jerry Panas said, “Fundraising is about changing and saving lives.” So we have to be optimists if we want to do that.

So I just want to see something, somebody was saying Boomers are very committed to their jobs. They work from 8:00 to 5:00, very symmetrical and goal oriented. They have note-taking skills in board meetings, even. Someone says “Generation Z and Millennials are more flexible but more efficient.” So this was really interesting. You do need both to balance each other. I could not agree more.

So let me keep going here. Somebody asked earlier about Generation X, and Z, and Millennials. So here they are. So Generation X is known as being willing to take on a challenge, to be adaptable and pragmatic, and self-reliant. So, Andrea, thank you. I appreciate you sharing your name and your background information.

So being willing to take on a challenge, to be adaptable, to be pragmatic and to be self-reliant. Again, we’re going back to some of the stereotypes. But I want to talk a little bit later about how you frame things and the importance of doing that and taking what can be seen as stereotypes and making them positives.

So Millennials, this is one of the most well educated generations in the United States of America. I don’t necessarily mean that everybody has gone to college or earned a four year college degree. But at the same time, it is a group that is known to be quite well-educated. They too are hard workers. Did you hear that term from an earlier generation? I’m sure that you did. Did you hear goal setting from another generation? I know that you did. So as you can see some of these things that different groups bring to the table are shared across generations.

Millennials are ambitious, at least it’s said of Millennials that they are, and I believe that. This is a place where I would argue to you that lots of generations are ambitious. And it’s a place where I want to make a key point before I forget it, which is that keep in mind that Boomers were once the age of Millennials, and they were once the age that Gen Z is now once, and they were once the age that Gen X is now. And so they’ve gone through [things 00:28:12] actually are some stages. And they live these things and had these things as part of themselves. And it’s just that they’ve now evolved into different people at this point in time.

Oh, somebody asked about Erickson’s life stages. Trey, I could go on about that because my original background is in student affairs. And I could tell you all about people’s development, but I won’t do it, lest I say bore people here. Somebody just said that “They see Millennials as project oriented and not visionary. So just tell me what to do and not think about the bigger picture. They’re afraid to make a mistake.” Somebody else said “Mm-hmm first time I’ve heard my generation described as resilient instead of fragile.” Well, hey, good news.

I am would say that I think you are resilient. I think many generations are resilient. I have a whole presentation about resilience that I can do for people. It’s a learned behavior. It is not necessarily something that we’re born with by any means. I mean, there’s a difference between surviving and being resilient. And I think that it’s something that all of us can learn to develop and can benefit everyone.

So Gen Z, tech savvy and multitaskers. You know, this is where you might want to start thinking about “Now what? I have all these different people. So how do I get them together?” Well, I would suggest to you, we’ve talked about a lot of different things, and I’m not going to really go back over every single one. But when you think about these different groups, and I actually am going to go back a couple of slides. Think about these different groups of people and what they bring to the table and think about who the people in your organization or who help your organization are whether they be paid workers or volunteers. And think about the different generations that are in your organization, you might want to even sit down right now and map out a little bit of a chart for yourself.

You know, some of you might like Excel and prefer to do something in that. Some of you are pen and paper sort of people. But you may want to sit down and ask yourself, “Well, what people do I have who comes from which generations?” And think about this, you could create a table of people and have skills and background that they bring to the table. And you may be asking yourself, “If I have a project coming up, what do I do? Who can I bring to the table that can be helpful with this?”

Somebody’s asking about data and what generation does the president and the CEO of the organization and does this affect the vision of the organization?” Gary, that’s a really good question. Somebody has undoubtedly . . . I’m an academic part time and have been in academia for a lot of my career. I’m quite sure there’s somebody who studied this. Actually, I’m thinking there are CEOs from all sorts of generations. And that how it affects vision does depend partly on a generation of persons, but not only the generation of person. Let’s keep in mind that this is just one layer of who people are. I have a whole program that I do on diversity in the workforce, and fundraising in particular, which we can sometimes have a lack thereof. And so the question becomes, how do we wear all the different kinds of diversity and think about how to bring that to the table?

And somebody just said,” I’m from California, I think that Gen Z and Millennials bring more diverse experience to the tables in terms of race and sexual orientation.” That doesn’t surprise me at all. I live in Central Pennsylvania and I grew up in western Pennsylvania and its steel community. And so I would say that people from where I come in that steel community in particular, would not come from very diverse experiences.

It wasn’t even when I was in college. It was not until I started being in the work world that I got that. So I think that it’s important to remember that so but I just want you to remember what people bring from a sort of skill and perspective focus. So again, as you go back over these slides, maybe think about mapping out what can each of the sets of people bring to my organization? How can I employ their skills and their abilities?

So just a couple of things to think about as you do work with these different groups. So the Silent Generation may prefer more formal kinds of communication not using a lot of slang. Keep in mind that the older the person is they may not even know the slang. I know there are tons of terms that are used in a lot of different places. I just don’t really know what they mean, and somebody just mentioned or asked the question, would regions play a part? Absolutely.

I grew up in, as I said, in western Pennsylvania, but I’ve lived in the South, I was in the Midwest, I’ve traveled all over the country, and how things how people are the language that they use, how they face the world, or live in the world does differ by where they come from, as well, too. So there are lots of layers.

So Boomers, make sure to involve them, let them ask questions, make sure they see the mission and the vision. Everybody needs to see the mission and vision and quite frankly, but Boomers more than others.

Generation X, they’re going be fine. If you’re straightforward, and you don’t use jargon with them. And I think you’re going find that true with all workers.

Millennials people might find it interesting, because they were on the sort of forefront of really using a lot of technology do like speaking face-to-face. So it’s something to remember. Gen Z, is also actually willing to talk face-to-face, but they also want to use technology.

So as you if you are a leader, one of the things you might want to think about is “How can I combine both face to face, whether that’s one on one or in group meetings, but also the use of technology?” It’s sort of the social media approach we take with fundraising where we use multiple channels. Think about applying that same idea to working with your workforce, with the people who help your organization to move forward. How can you use all those ways of communicating with people to ensure that everybody is on board?

Somebody said that they find Millennials have less social skills in dealing with people and prefer tech? I will say that I sometimes find that to be true and sometimes not. I work on my university campus, even though the vast majority all of my teaching is online, but I’m still on a campus every day and I see students and I interface with students. I can tell you the good news is there are a lot of current college students who have exceptional people skills. They are more than happy to talk face-to-face, and they are very compelling.

There are other students who I will tell you, I can see it walking around our campus, they are carrying their phones, they’re looking at their phones, they’d much rather talk on FaceTime, or chat on Zoom, or somewhere else. But keep in mind too, as we think about this from a stereotypical press perspective, if this is what somebody grew up with, it may be where their comfort level is. Maybe they haven’t been introduced to something else.

I used to work with Career Services office as a great deal when I worked in directly in Development and Alumni Relations. And we did find that we had to teach people the skill of working with people face-to-face or talking with them face-to-face. This is a fear people have whether or not they’re into technology. So it’s something that we need to think about as a skill we can help people to develop.

Somebody says “It’s interesting that Millennials like face-to-face. It’s hard to get them to meetings.” I would say that what I’ve learned is that and I’m not sure if it’s Cindy, I hope I’m pronouncing your name properly, but it could be hard to get then in the meetings. I would say that I think it’s not necessarily because they don’t necessarily like communication, they may not see it as worthwhile. And there are younger generations have a tendency though I know certainly in my generation is true if the meeting isn’t worthwhile, I don’t want to be there.

And someone else just said I find Boomers have horrible phone etiquette because they didn’t grow up with them. I thinking maybe you mean mobile phone etiquette. So I’m not quite sure, Sarah, what you mean. If you could maybe clarify, that would be really helpful. And yes, Trey, I couldn’t agree with you more. Don’t have a meeting that isn’t necessary. And Sarah said, “Yes, mobile.” She finds that people don’t have good mobile skills or phone etiquette. So maybe, Sarah, you can give us a little lesson about that sure that we can teach other people about that. Because my guess is I may be not using very good mobile phone etiquette myself. As in not using silent answering at the table during a meeting, etc.

Okay, so I would fully agree with that I once had a student I was working with, I won’t go into great detail. But we were having a conversation over lunch and she picked her phone up multiple times to send texts to people and it made me crazy. And I finally just had to stop and have a conversation with her. And having people not put their phone on silent. Here’s what I say to my students, particularly because they’re in fundraising courses. When you answer your phone instead of talking to the person who’s sitting across from you. You have just said to the person across from you, “You are the least important person in the world. You don’t matter at all. What matters more is the person who’s on the phone.” So if you are a leader and you’re teaching people, this is a lesson you might want to think about helping them to come to understand.

So I just want to ask if there any quick questions, anything else you’re wondering about, because I’m now going to talk about donors. And again, who are often volunteers, and we’ll talk about that when we talk about donors and generational styles and generational differences with donors.

So I’m not so far seeing anything . . . comment about meetings. Gen X and below are starting to see some workplace etiquette is antiquated, formal dress. Yeah, and that it’s true. I mean, I that certainly is true, but I will tell you this. I can remember an organization I worked in 20 years ago where the vice president had to send out a memo about summer dress. Because people were wearing things that were just considered to be really inappropriate for the workplace from his perspective. And I think in general, to many people’s perspective, far too casual, the kind of thing they might have worn to go to the grocery store but really not suitable for workplace.

Somebody asked about [extra meals 00:39:12] and I don’t know if that’s the thing. That’s interesting. Sarah, I’m not sure about your question about physical mailers. I’ll get to it actually in a minute. Yes, mailing works no matter what the generation actually, in fact, younger generations are actually using mail.

So let me get onto the donor styles and this comes from I was so thrilled when I found these infographics about different generations. These are so valuable. I think they’re extraordinarily helpful. Somebody just sent a link to “USA Today” article and maybe Steven can find a way to incorporate that.

So donor styles. This is something important to think about. So these are described a little differently in terms of generational terms. But the mature, so people who are born before 1945 and earlier. So you’re going to find that the volunteer rate across generations is almost the same. It’s almost exactly the same. So in general, in the United States, that volunteer rate is declining. So what all the reasons are for that, it’s hard to say but it is a bit on the decline.

Matures people, it’s important to know that they only represent 26% of total giving. On the other hand, these are the people who would be your planned givers and often your major givers. These are the people as you see in that middle piece, there are still going to church and giving the church and to spiritual causes. But they’re also giving to things like human rights, emergency relief, supporting veterans, and other types of organizations as well, too.

So Boomers, again, you’ll see pretty consistent on the percentage who are volunteering. This group right now represents the largest percentage of total giving. So this is a group you really want to be focusing on. I have a whole article that I’ve written about Baby Boomers. And what you need to know if you’re a fundraiser about Baby Boomers.

And one of the questions I ask is, why is the year 2025 important? And that’s because the year and I some might take 2026, but that’s the year when the Boomer generation begins to peak. So the largest year, the Boomer generation in terms of birth was 1957. So if you’re able to keep track of your donor ages, you’re going to be looking at those groups of people and asking yourself, “Where are they? And their lifespans? Where are they in their work life? Where are they in thinking about giving?” And you’re going to be thinking about these people as people who are talking to you about things like planned and major giving.

Again, you’ll see that a lot of these people are still giving to religious causes. But that has dropped dramatically from 60%. And it’s also dropped in terms of how many what percentage give to volunteer or volunteer. You’ll see that a lot of money give to first responder organizations. Anybody have a guess as to why that might be? I’m going to see if anybody has a good guess about why Boomers might be more likely to be giving their first responder organizations. Someone says, “Goal, may need them.” Yes, exactly.

Boomers are maybe more likely to have seen their parents or themselves Start to begin to need first responder services. And frankly, I can tell you unfortunately, having been taken out of a car by first responders eight years ago and after a terrible car accident, I never really appreciated them as much as I did that day when they were taking care of me riding me in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

So donor styles Generation X. So you’ll see that this group is volunteering a bit more, they are a smaller percentage of total giving, but that’s probably because they’re being pulled in multiple generation. They probably have children in college, they may have older parents, they may be paying off their own college loans. This is a group of people where there’s even more significant drop from the matures in terms of the percentage of people who donate to churches and to spiritual causes. But again, people are donating to human rights causes, they’re focusing on health. Animal rights and environmental protection are beginning to rise in this generation and beyond. I am only supposing that part of this maybe because of the Boomers and things like Earth Day having been created, as well as other things that are happening in the broader world about the environment.

Millennials, they are representing only 11% of total giving but they are giving. Again, it’s a group that’s not necessarily giving to church, but a much larger percent in giving to human rights causes. So if you are an organization that focuses on human rights, you might really want to be focusing on Millennials.

What I find really interesting and important to note is that 84% of millennial employees said they donated to a nonprofit in 2014. That is huge. That’s a huge percentage of the population. You’ll see that they’re looking at some different groups to which they’re making their gifts, like human rights, child development, victims of crime and abuse. And I think that some of this may have to do again with some things that are going on in the broader society. But they are just things for you to keep in mind depending upon what type of organization you’re in.

And finally Gen Z. This is a younger generation. So really not a lot of data about giving but you will see that down in the bottom left, it says the 30% have already donated to a nonprofit. So this a real plus. This is a great thing. And 1 in 10 actually wants to start a charity. So I don’t know if there’s anybody on this call who is in Gen Z or anybody who’s wants to start or has started their own nonprofit organization. But I will tell you, I do see this. We have a pretty fair number of people who have gotten into our program or taken our courses because they’ve already started a charity or because they want to. So there is a great deal of interest in the nonprofit world. What I actually tell people is going to work for a charity first, and learn about it and learn how they work and what you’re going to need to do to be able to sustain it.

So any quick comments here, because then I’m going to go into the last piece because I want to make sure that we leave enough time for any quick Q&A at the end here. So I do see somebody said that they said they’re guilty of starting a nonprofit. So I wouldn’t call it guilty, I will just say, “Yep, I own it. I did it. I chose to do it.” And that’s great. That’s good. I’m hoping. I’m assuming that you are doing great good, and you’re feeling good about what you’re doing.

Any kind of questions, anything, any of the observations about what you just said about donors? Okay, I’m not seeing any. So just keep in mind that this actually all does tie together because these generational differences in giving and volunteering all relate to what we talked about earlier about things like your volunteers being part of your workforce. So those of us who have lots of organization, lots of volunteers want to think about that.

Are all types of giving preferred for donors of all types? You know, Linda, I’m not the best person to answer that question. Steven might actually be better able to do that. So I’m going to move on and we’ll see if we can get enough time to have him answer that. We’re just going to close with this sort of broader quick rubric here. It can be really difficult to think about all of what we have just talked to today and even when the event when you begin to overlay the other kinds of differences we talked about.

So what are we really dealing with, we’re dealing with change in our organizations in the workplace and how people are and how they relate to one another, and then all sorts of things. So I have a whole presentation I do about change leadership. And one of the things I talked about to begin with is a lot of how we think about change and different groups of people. And things that are different about them than us, is how we frame things. And I’ve purposely picked this picture, because some people see only what’s in that little frame. They don’t see that whole big picture. And your job as a leader, assuming that’s what you are no matter what role you’re in, is sometimes to help people see that bigger picture to help them reframe the situation.

That it may seem like a negative to say that there are so many different styles. But I would encourage you to reframe it and think “But we have a multi-faceted team.” And then ask yourself the question, “How can we take advantage of those different positive facets?” You’ll never get anybody to work together? Well, you have people who excel at teamwork, whether their employees or volunteers, can you engage some of those people, and helping other people to engage in teamwork.

Intergenerational interaction is really important. And it’s really beneficial to all generations older and younger. So getting people to interact rather than you feeling like you need to do it all the time can be really helpful in lots of ways. Everybody wants things done their way. That can be the case, certainly, but also people bring different skills and you can try to leverage those skills for success.

And yep, it can be exhausting, but it can be worth it if you’re able to take the time. I’m going to encourage you again to think about creating that spreadsheet or just pencil and paper of, you know, “Who has what skill? Who has one ability? How can I get these people to work together to bring things to the table?”

So I also would encourage you to think about answering all of these questions for everybody. Where are we going? What is the vision? But not just what is the vision? Why does it matter? The reality is, everybody wants to know that. Somebody mentioned Erickson earlier, and if you know anything about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, or you know any other things about psychology, people generally want to be part of something bigger than themselves. But they also want to know that they matter, and that whatever they’re working on matters, so you need to tell them why.

How do you know it’s going to work? Well, you might say, “I actually really don’t know. We’re going to try to figure out ourselves and we might not it might not work, but we’ll try.” How is it going to affect me? This is actually going to be true of all workers, I don’t care what generation you are. Some may want to know this more than others. But everybody wants to know how they’re going to be impacted. And most people want to know what’s going to be expected of them. So you need to be clear about what the expectations are and frankly, not apologize for that. I’m going to stop for a minute before I go on to this next slide, because Abby mentioned something for Q&A, but I’ll wait till we get there then so it’s in Q&A.

So I just want to close with one thing and I again, I don’t want sound like a Pollyanna. But I do want to say that when you’re trying to think about how to get people in different generations to change their behavior, one of the things that has been learned about change is that people respond better to the idea of being joyful than they do by fear or being forced to do something.

So “Change or Die.” There’s a great article from Fast Company, which is a business publication. And in it they talk about people who had had heart bypass surgery, and who were told they needed to change their behavior. And amazingly enough 90% of people who had bypasses didn’t change their behavior. You would think if you nearly died, that you would be willing to do anything to stay alive, right? Well, the problem was they were framing it in a situation of saying, “Well, you need to do this so you won’t die.’

When I started to reframe things to say, if you engage in these behaviors, you’re going to be able to enjoy life, you may be able to start biking again. You may be able to start hiking, you may be able to see your child get married, or maybe you will be able to meet your new partner in life, or maybe you’ll get that wonderful job, or you’ll write that book. So think about how you can frame things for people in ways that are positive. Again, I’m not saying Pollyanna, but positive for people.

So I’m going to skip this next one and go straight to resources and then skip through those quickly and we’ll get to Q&A. So just some quick resources here, if you’re wanting to know more about how to deal with change, I learned a great deal from Barbara Trautlein, who’s mentioned here. She has a wonderful book. It’s very helpful. I don’t earn any money from it. I heard Barbara speak several years ago at a conference and I just really latched on to her work, because I think it’s really smart. And what you’ll discover is all of us have change leadership styles. And you can ask use your whole team, change leadership styles to work together to solve problems like working with different generations.

So I also wanted to mention some more resources. Buddy Hobart’s piece that I mentioned. Grit is so important. I haven’t put anything in here about resilience, but if anybody wants something, I can share it. And all of you have change agents. And I’ll just add one more thing. Barbara and I wrote a co-article together about dealing in goal times and leading through change.” So now, here’s my contact information. And I know that . . . I think Steven, we we’re going to go ahead and open the floor up to questions.

Steven: Yes, so we got a couple of them here, more than a couple actually. We won’t have time to get to everything. But we’ve got Sophie’s contact info on the screen here. So definitely reach out to her. Follow her on Twitter, get that monthly newsletter. There’s really good stuff in there. And I think after listening to this last hour, you’ll definitely see some more of that good stuff there.

So Sophie, thanks for doing this. First of all, thanks for spending more than an hour because you did a lot of prep for this, obviously, but it was really awesome to have you and really lively chat. You know, we’ve been doing these webinars for seven years. I can’t remember more lively chat . . .

Sophie: Oh, good.

Steven: . . . after some generational angst in there. But here’s a . . . there were a lot of Millennials asking kind of a variation of the same question which was, “I’m a Millennial. I struggle with this perception in the workforce. How do I change people’s opinions of me? How do I prove the stereotypes wrong?” Do you have any advice for those Millennials to kind of want to break away from the stereotype and show them that we’re not lazy and untitled, and all this things? You’ve worked with a lot of generations. I mean, what have you seen?

Sophie: Well, you know, I think one of the things I’ve seen and particularly in students, because I’m pretty sure that a fair amount of my students, though I don’t ask their ages, nor do I see them generally. And I certainly can’t pretend to judge by pictures. But I’m guessing I have a pretty fair number of Millennials is making sure that you really clarify what the expectations are of your supervisor, or teacher, or whomever you’re working with, and ask those clarifying questions. And then quite honestly to just deliver. And if you can’t deliver, be upfront about it as soon as you can’t deliver, rather than waiting. I have had people who just don’t sort of show . . . I’ve had people ghost me, and I have had people who just are late. And they say, “Well, I just couldn’t do it because I didn’t get it in on time. So just didn’t do it.”

So I think you really want to make sure that I’m hoping none of you on the call have ever engaged in any of that behavior. But that’s just hard to get over as a supervisor. I don’t care what age you are. I think it’s really hard to get over.

Steven: Yeah, it’s interesting as you were talking, there were a lot of people mentioning those kind of in between generations where maybe they were born right on the cuff, and kind of associate certain attributes, but don’t identify in other ways. And I was sitting here thinking, and I’ve always thought this like I was born in 84. So I’m technically a millennial, but I’m also not a digital native. I mean, I remember not having a computer in the house, let alone internet and I remember having used you know, a dialing phone. And there are members of my same generation who are digital natives. So do you have any comment on kind of inbetweeners? You know, not just the people in between X and Millennial but you know, maybe even between Boomer and X or, or any other generation?

So here’s what I would say is that everybody’s an inbetweener in some way, shape or form, and everybody is an adopter of things. You know, when I went through this retirement community to work, some of you may remember Skype, I don’t think very many people use it anymore, but they were getting Skyped. And you know why? It’s because they wanted to be able to talk to their families and their grandkids.

And so you might think of people as being unwilling or they’re on that cusp, but just don’t make assumptions about people. And the other thing, help people understand what the benefits is to them of maybe using this technology. So go back to that joy sort of concept that I talked about in dealing with change. Okay, yeah, you Skype or you’ve got this mobile phone or whatever. Oh, it seems so hard. But what will you get out of it if you employ it?

Steven: I love it. That may be a good place to end it because we’re coming up on to 2:00.

Sophie: Okay.

Steven: Any parting thoughts, Sophie? You’re cool with people may be reaching out to you by e-mail or Twitter. Is that cool with you?

Sophie: Yeah, please.

Steven: Cool.

Sophie: Go ahead write to me. You know, I’m, I’m great with that. I love to be in touch with you and answer questions. And Steven did mention Twitter. I forgot to put it on this slide. I am on Twitter. But you’ll find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. And I’m happy to chat with you. So thanks so much, everyone. It’s great. I appreciate your time, because I know you can’t get it back. And so thank you for giving all of us this gift today.

Steven: Well, you know what from me as a Millennial to you as a Boomer, Sophie, there is proof that we can get along and we can be productive together.

Sophie: Yeah, we can. I’d love to learn from you, Steven.

Steven: You’re one of my favorite Boomers, so it is possible. So I know we didn’t get to all of the questions and we’re going to get everyone the slides. And I know there was a lot of research that is the slides that may have prompted some questions. So you’ll get that. You’ll get the recording here also this afternoon. So just be on the lookout for that. I’ll get it out here in the next couple of hours, I promise. And we got some great webinars coming up.

Sophie: You and I have a webinar, your upcoming webinars.

Steven: Oh, yeah. Thank you. Yeah, you read my mind. We’ve got a really great one coming up one week from today. 2 p.m. rather than 1 p.m. But Michael Hoffman just has a really interesting presentation centered around storytelling, digital storytelling, specifically user generated video. So check that out. You may get some good tidbits that you can use even before year end. Maybe to capture some of those last minute donors this year, since Giving Tuesday is over. That doesn’t mean that you can hit the brakes on all your digital efforts.

So we’ve got a really good one. We’ve got lots of webinars. We’re really only going to take off Christmas and New Year’s week. But then we’ll be back with a with a bang in January. We’ve got six or seven webinars planned in January. So check out our webinar page. You’re going to see a lot of those sessions there that you can register for already. We’re going to keep the pedal on the gas in 2020, for sure.

So check that out. Hopefully, we will see you on another session coming up here on the Bloomerang webinars, but we’ll call it a day there. Just look for an e-mail from me with the slides and the recording. And hopefully, we’ll see you again next week. So have a good rest of your Thursday. Have a safe weekend. Stay warm out there. And we’ll talk to you all again soon. Bye now.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.