Generational Giving: Generation X Fundraising Trends, Preferences, and Patterns

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Have there ever been two generations more meticulously studied than Baby Boomers and Millennials? I’m pretty sure there hasn’t! Even the nonprofit industry has speculated endlessly about Millennials and their donation habits and how they compare to Boomers’ habits. But, when it comes to asking for donations, the constant Boomer vs. Millennial coverage neglects a very important generation that falls between the two—Generation X.

Meet Generation X!

Generation X is often referred to as “The Lost Generation,” and it’s easy to understand why. But this generation is an important cohort, and nonprofits would do well to understand their motivations for giving and what they expect from the nonprofits they support.

Luckily, our Generational Giving Report includes a ton of resources that will help you understand your Generation X donors. Here’s a summary of what we found!

If you want to learn more about the other generations we surveyed for the study, you can read about them here:

Generation X gives generously and deliberately

According to the Blackbaud Next Generation Report, Generation X gives about 20% of all philanthropic dollars. That’s huge! Generation X represents a ton of money flowing into the nonprofit industry despite not being courted as regularly as their Boomer or Millennial Counterparts.

Gen X donors are most likely to give to nonprofits that focus on research and public policy, international affairs, and community development. Many donors in this age group see giving to a charity as part of their personal identity; they really invest in the causes that are important to them!

Research is an important part of this generation’s giving process.

Perhaps because they see their charitable giving as part of their identity, Generation X donors are very intentional about the nonprofits they support. 60% of the Generation X donors we surveyed reported that they research a nonprofit before making a gift. They’re most likely to be put off by bad testimonials and negative reviews, and they are much less likely to donate if the nonprofit’s website is outdated. The most compelling information a nonprofit can provide this group is testimonials from the people who have benefited from the organization’s programs. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest reasons a Generation X donor will discontinue their support is because they feel their money wasn’t used wisely. Showing them how their money is used is critical!

How to attract Gen X donors

39% of Generation X donors indicated they’re likely to donate in response to a social media appeal, so be sure to include appeals in your social posts regularly. Appeal to their preference for testimonials by showcasing success stories from people you’ve served!

As a general rule, this group of donors prefers to give online. When you set up your online donation form, enable the ability to give with an eCheck. 37% of this generation said they’d give via eCheck, which was more popular than giving with a debit or credit card (32%). They’re also very likely to give by text message!

Give your Gen X donors the option of donating via text message!

Perhaps because they like knowing their money is used wisely, Gen X donors are very likely to make an additional donation of a few dollars to offset processing costs! 54% of this group said they’d take advantage of that option if it was available. This group is also the generation most likely to be motivated by their gift’s tax-deductible status. 42% of the Generation X survey respondents indicated it’s a “big motivator” for them!

What you can take away from this: attract donors’ attention by showing testimonials on social media and keeping your website up to date. Occasionally mention that any gifts given to your nonprofit are tax-deductible. This group of donors wants to feel their gift will be used wisely, and they’re willing to offset processing costs. Make that an option on your donation form! You’ll also want to be sure to include eCheck options on your form, and you might want to look into offering text donation options.

How to keep your Gen X donors

The top reason our Gen X survey respondents stopped donating to a charity was because they had a bad experience with the nonprofit. Building a great donor experience before, during, and after a gift is key! Knowing how to make this generation happy will make them much more likely to support you long term.

Our survey respondents indicated that they prefer to receive their donation receipts by email (42%), and that they expect their receipt immediately after making their gift (36%). Set up automated receipts that include the donor’s transaction information, a note (or a testimonial!) about how their gift will make a difference, and a heartwarming image.

Focus on sending engaging receipts that make your donors feel good about their gift.

After they give, keep your Generation X donors engaged with your nonprofit by combining digital and analogue methods. While they prefer email receipts, this generation is most likely to appreciate personal follow-ups by phone. They also like receiving updates about their favorite causes and programs through the mail!


As a group, Generation X is often overlooked. Don’t make that mistake at your nonprofit! They’re an important group of donors. Give them the information they want, keep your site up to date, and share great stories on social media. Every once in a while, remind them their gifts are tax-deductible, then get them their receipt quickly. Keep them involved by giving them personal updates via phone or direct mail. Tweaking a few processes you already have in place will help you engage this small (but important!) generations.

Do you have the tools you need to recruit and retain your Gen X donors?

Can you take donations online and through text messages? Do your donors know how to give by text message? Can you send beautiful automated receipts? We can help you engage this generation with our suite of fundraising tools. Get a personalized demo of the Qgiv platform to learn how!

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