How to Help Seniors Bridge The Technology Gap

Donor Acquisition and Retention

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Online donation pages and mobile giving options are quickly becoming major resources for nonprofit organizations. They’re easy to manage, streamline reporting, and reduce the need for trips to the bank to deposit cash and checks. Despite their advantages, many nonprofits have a hard time convincing their senior supporters of the benefits of using those tools for their donations. So what are some ways charities can help them bridge the technology gap?

1. Let them know their options

Are your supporters aware that they can give online? Are you sure? While 54% of people over the age of 65 use the Internet, not all of them are as familiar with online options as their younger counterparts. You might think it’s a no-brainer that people can give donations online, but those who aren’t super Internet-savvy might not be aware that it’s an option. Let them know through newsletters, e-mail campaigns, and personal interactions that they can give online.

2. Show them how to do it

Anyone, not just seniors, can be intimidated by new technology. Help your supporters learn how to give in new ways by showing them how to do it instead of leaving them to figure it out alone. You can write out step-by-step instructions, take screenshots, or show them in person. One church helped drive traffic to their mobile giving options by filming a short video about how to use them; they showed the video before church to make sure their congregation understood how they work.

3. Keep it simple

My grandmother orders many of her clothes through mail-order catalogues. When I asked her if she’d rather order them online to save time, she shook her head. “I don’t like the order forms,” she said. “They’re so long.” She was turned off by the three- and four-page order forms online and how long it took for her type everything — she ultimately ordered clothes through the mail or didn’t order it at all. The same concept applies to online donation pages. If you have long, complicated donation pages that are hard to fill out, fewer seniors will risk the already unfamiliar process of giving online. Keep it short and sweet.

4. Tell them why it’s awesome

If you are working with an individual who has given to charity for years, you’ll probably have to come up with a convincing reason for them to change the way they donate. After all, they’ve been using cash or checks their whole lives! Why should they change? Lay out the reasons your digital option is good for everyone. Is it easier to use? Can it store their billing information for them? Can it save them time? Does it help your organization? Be clear about why your new options are superior to other ones.

And this is the best part: if you make sure that people know about your different giving options, show them how to use them, make it easy to give, and explain why your new technology is so wonderful, it’ll do more than encourage seniors to give. It’ll help encourage everyone to give. So go on and bridge that technology gap! Everyone wins!

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