Let’s cut straight to the chase: I’m a Boomer. There’s not much I can do about it since I was born between 1946 through 1964 (sigh). That’s life. Boomers are, however, OK in my book.
While I’m at it, there are other generations too:
- Gen X, born between 1965 and 1980
- Millenials, born between 1981and 1996
- Gen Z, born between 1997 through 2012
- And of course, there are still many in the Silent Generation, born between 1928 through 1945.
The most recent Giving USA Special Report: Giving by Generation, does not take into account giving by the Silent Generation. It focuses instead on giving by Gen Z, Millenials, Gen X, and Boomers.
Here are a few highlights from that report of interest to faith communities:
1. Millenials are stepping up their giving game.
This generation had the biggest increase in giving since 2016 of any generation surveyed. Millenials gave 40 percent more, on average to charity than they did in 2016 – from $942 to $1,323. By contrast, Gen X and Boomer giving decreased by 4 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
If you’ve been around the church for a while, you might think that “young people” (anyone younger than you by ten years) can’t afford to or won’t give. This research says otherwise.
2. You Need a QR Code
Donors – especially younger ones – love QR codes. You know what a QR code is, right? That squiggly square where you point your smartphone’s camera and it magically takes you to your church’s giving page? 47% of Gen Z and and 46% of Millenials have made their way to a website using a QR code.
It's crucial that your church keeps up with current technology trends.
3. Your giving page needs to be user-friendly on a smartphone or tablet.
4. Hallelujah! The church is not dead!
Perhaps, most encouragingly, The Chronical of Philanthropy noted that USA Giving’s report, “…Showed an uptick in Millenials attendance of virtual or in-person religious services.” A little less encouraging: it showed a slight decline in Gen X and Boomer.
“In 2016, 49 percent of Millenials said they attended services ‘at least a few times a month.’ By 2022, that share of Millenials had grown to 67 percent.”
Knowing that there is a desire to connect spiritually and be in community, how has your congregation made families of school-aged children a priority?
And finally, though lower than in 2016, each age group reported their highest contributions went to places of worship.
This special report on generations should give you some good food for thought. Maybe there are one or two things you can do to step up your game.
- Reach out to Millenials in your congregation and find out what needs they have.
- Get a QR code in the bulletin or on your website.
- Take a look at your giving page on a smartphone.
- But let’s get this straight as well: giving is not just part of the “life cycle.” It’s who we are as people of faith no matter what our age or stage in life. We want to open wide the door for all people. We are called to give at all stages of our lives. Now, let’s act like we believe it.
excerpt from a story by Cesie Delve Scheuermann, consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing, Oregon-Idaho AC, Click here to subscribe to her blog: "Inspiring Generosity."
United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about the generosity of United Methodists click here.