The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Responsible consumerism.

with one comment

Twice last week at the Bridge Conference and then Friday in the twice monthly e-digest of The Boomer Project a future of “responsible consumerism” or some variant was predicted.  I find the concept that Americans, and Boomers in particular, are now making “a virtue of value shopping” a valid one and I think it has important implications for fundraisers.  The first mention came from Kay Sprinkel Grace in a session on stewardship predicting that impulsive giving will disappear.  Then, at the luncheon address, Anirban Basu, Chairman & CEO of Sage Policy Group, Inc., an economic and policy consulting firm in Baltimore, said that consumers (including donors) are striving for value and affordability.  He predicts that “depressed spending habits will become the new normal” and that it’s “the end of the Starbucks economy.”

Finally, came The Boomer Project e-mail (they bill themselves” as “The Nation’s Authority on the Boomer Consumer) with the takeaway from the idea of responsible consumerism that “Marketers that figure out how to deliver meaningful value at any price point will survive in the new Responsible Consumer Economy. Consumers want to get more out of what they buy. Help them do that and you’ll prosper.”

How do we do that as fundraisers?  Impact, impact, impact.  Donors need to be assured and reassured that their money is going for the intended purpose and that their money is having impact–producing results.  I don’t think we need to resort to statistics to make our point.  Impact can be illustrated by telling a story.  But one way or the other, if you can convince current and prospective donors that they are getting more bang for the buck from a dollar invested with you, you’ll get the gift.  By the way, Sprinkel Grace also said that donors are not institution-loyal, they’re issue-loyal.  So, speak to the responsible consumer in each of us and you’ll win support for your cause.


P.S.  I’ve always liked so-called “magic gift” amounts as a way of communicating to donors what their gifts will buy.  Anything from $15 for a box of nails that Habitat will use to build a house to $50,000 for a gradute fellowship at a university, can help donors feel more confident.  Just complement that kind of ask with a description of  the lives transformed as a result.


One Response

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  1. Thanks, Phyllis, for highlighting this essential perspective. You might also like to look at the work and writings of Tom Suddes on this subject if impact. His web site says it all… He has been speaking and writing on the subject for some time ands has great insight on the subject your readers might enjoy.

    Bob Price

    July 28, 2009 at 9:02 am

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