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How would you message to Traditionalists (ages 67-87)?

Looking for Traditionalists volunteers and donors? They are frugal and known for giving to longstanding national causes. They believe loyalty is earned. Motivated by safety, security and stability, they like conservative imagery, longevity and well-known celebrity endorsers. Known for communicating face-to-face, they appreciate word of mouth. Maximize credibility and relationships.

How do you connect with Baby Boomers (ages 48-66) as you market your mission?

The original me generation, they have mellowed with age and yet still continue to transform whatever they touch. Buoyed by power, prestige and process as motivators, they are concerned about image and keeping up with the Jones’. Baby Boomers are competitive by nature (they had to be there were so many of them!) and appreciate a good competitive challenge. Emphasize relationships and status.

How do you communicate effectively with Gen X (ages 32-47)?

Gen X is the don’t pussyfoot around generation. They appreciate direct communication and results. Gen X is a bit cynical and appreciates humor. They will want to know how much of the dollar they give will get the result they seek. They intensely dislike hype and are skeptical. They embrace and value technology as a lifestyle need. Donating online preferred. Use results and efficiencies.

What do you encourage Gen Y (31 years old and under) to buy into your mission?

Gen Y supports causes and there will be something in it for them as they do it. They expect to be courted with technology and have the freedom to choose. They want to make a contribution right away and will be disenchanted if they cannot. They have a unique perspective and want to share. They will work for less if they are happy and can make a contribution. Leverage relationships and uniqueness.

What universal messages can you use that appeal to something in each generation?

All generations want to be successful, acknowledged and rewarded. They do not want to operate out of fear, be in conflict, or miss being on the same wavelength. Clear communication is vital. We have an opportunity to create more authentic communication. Use makes a difference, creates impact, fits your needs, solves your problems. Create a sense of community in your messaging that reaches out to all generations and shows the heart, soul and intellect of your organization — think whole.

Sherri Petro, President of VPI Strategies, has a keen desire to understand where everyone is coming from — and to work with it! She is presenting, “Boomers and Gen-Xers: What makes them tick?” on Sunday, October 7 as part of the Nonprofit Human Resources Conference’s Diversity Summit. 

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