The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Words never to use with Boomers.

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I have no intention of telling you my age.  Let’s just say that I’m eligible for AARP membership.  That makes me a (dreaded by some) Baby Boomer.  One of the things I fundamentally believe is true about Boomers is that you can’t generalize about Boomers!  It’s too diverse and broad a group to lump together.  On the other hand, I do think it’s safe to say that there are phrases that should never be used (or used with extreme caution) when talking to Boomers (and older donors, generally):

1.  Retired.  Boomers will never retire (and this was true even before their retirement accounts declined by 50%).  Why do you think AARP just goes by the acronym?

2.  Still going strong

3.  Forever young

4.  Growing old (growing older is ok)

5.  Looks good for her age

6.  Anything that describes a metal, e.g., silver, golden.

7.  Senior/Senior Citizen/Elderly – Instead, mention the age specifically or say “older adult” or “mature adult” with regard to individuals beyond the Boomer demographic.

8.  Suffering from/victim of (in regards to illness or disability).  Same goes for “confined” to a wheelchair.

How we speak with donors is critical to our success and being alert to the loaded phrases we sometimes use can help us communicate more effectively.  I’ll be speaking about “Changing the Conversation to Increased Planned Gift Commitments” July 22nd at the “Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising” Conference.  If you’re going to be there, please stop by and say hello.


P.S.  For a daily dose about my generation you can subscribe to The Boomer Blog.


Written by Phyllis Freedman

April 29, 2009 at 12:45 pm

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