~ Baby Boomers are described well in Wikipedia. The U.S. Census Bureau describes “Boomers” as being born between 1946 and 1964. The Alliance for Aging provides a helpful overview of what has been called the “Silver Tsunami.”
Live Science has posted a helpful infographic about the growing number of retiring American Baby Boomers (April 30, 2012). Planned giving, anyone?
~ Jeff Brooks has written on Future Fundraising Now, “Boomer Life Transitions and Fundraising” (March 12, 2013). “Boomers are quickly replacing their elders as the fundraising target audience. For every older donor who “permanently lapses” (if you catch my drift), more than one Boomer turns 50, 55, 60, 65 — the ages where people ripen into true donors, the gold-standard supporters who make nonprofit work possible.”
~ A big, “thumbs up” to Kate Freeman who has written for Mashable, “Social Savvy Seniors Have Higher Self Esteem” (December 1, 2012).
“A growing number of senior citizens, as well as tech entrepreneurs, are seeing technology as a tool to enrich their lives as they reach old age. Technology plays an increasingly important role in helping older adults maintain and improve mental and emotional well-being.”
~ Pew Internet & American Life has produced a report, Digital Differences (April 13, 2012). As we might expect, all age groups are increasingly online. Those who are more affluent and educated are more active online than those who are less affluent and less well-educated; those who are more affluent and educated also tend to be donors of significant charitable donations. E-mail and search are the most popular online activities.
~ It has been my contention that if seniors would take the time to adopt new technologies, their mental health would improve. I was pleased to find a research paper by Mary C. Gilly, Professor of Marketing, University of California Irvine; Hope Jensen Schau, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Temple University; and Mary Finley Wolfinbarger, Professor of Marketing, California State University Long Beach entitled, “Seniors and the Internet: Consuming Technology to Enhance Life and Family Involvement.” The research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation, and it appears to date from 2003, which means it was quite farsighted at that time. The abstract is as follows:
“While seniors are increasingly adopting computers and the Internet, they face unique barriers to usage. Most did not use computers in their workplace before retirement and many have physical limitations that make computers and the internet harder to learn and use. Yet, seniors who do adopt are enthusiastic. We find that these seniors express strong openness to learning, are willing to look foolish and to be slow while they are learning, and strongly desire patient and knowledgeable teachers and mentors. Bricolage or play is important in learning, and they often maintain written lists and instructions to help them remember websites and procedures. Interestingly, the most frequently mentioned reason for adoption was to maintain cultural currency.”
~ The Wall Street Journal featured an interesting article by Sarah E. Needleman (August 30, 2011), “Adult Use of Social Media Soars.” The article discusses recent findings of the Pew Research Center: “Sixty-five percent of all U.S. adults now use social-networking sites, up from 61% a year ago and just 5% in 2005, reports Pew Research Center. The findings are based on telephone interviews conducted in April and May by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Most of the growth over the past year came from Americans over the age of 30, with seniors accounting for the bulk of it. One-third of adults ages 65 and older say they now use social-networking sites, compared with 26% who said this a year ago.”
~ Campbell Rinker has produced an interesting report, “Online Giving Important to Donors 60+” (see Huffington Post Impact, August 15, 2012). In addition to that finding, the report notes, “51 percent of donors 60 years old and up said they have given online. The study also found that donors who are 60 and over tend to continue to give online much more often than younger donors.”
~ JustGiving Insights in the UK has published, “Older Donors and Online Giving” (August 6, 2012). “Older givers are increasingly going online to make charitable donations, with religious and arts charities the major beneficiaries.”
I’d like to thank one of my favorite online journals, Fundraising Success Magazine, for pointing out the two prior stories. If you haven’t signed-up for their e-communications, you might consider doing so.
~ A few people including myself have been discussing the subject of Boomers and giving for the past two years. The Association of Fundraising Professionals has posted a helpful write-up (January 7, 2012) regarding an insightful report by John Havens and Paul Schervish at the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, Boston College, “Giving Data Show Boomers Poised for Record Giving Capacity.”
Nonprofits need to be watching this trend and developing their fundraising strategies accordingly ….
~ Regarding the for-profit marketing environment, advertising is changing! Read Robert M. Brecht, Ph.D.’s insightful DMN3 blog (May 31, 2011), “Advertising Shifting to Targeting Older Demographic Segments” for an insightful discussion about how marketing to older adults makes good business sense.
~ Another terrific article along these lines is, “The Prophet of the Coming Aging Boom” by Susan Adams in Forbes online (October 19, 2011). The article focuses on the life and work of Ken Dychtwald and what he calls the “Age Wave.” “Baby boomers, the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, present a vast market for a potential explosion of products and services, from new dating websites to longevity insurance to new kinds of food.” Dychtwald’s message is a positive one, and I for one am glad to hear it.
~ “Over-50s are the ‘generous generation,” according to James Hall of The Telegraph in the UK (November 27, 2011). Good news for philanthropy, from Great Britain! “The Saga Quality of Life Index, a quarterly snapshot of the financial and social well being of the UK’s over-50s, also found that almost half of all people in this age group will give cash directly to charity this Christmas. The desire to give comes despite a decline in the quality of life over the last year and a significant rise in the cost of living among the over-50s. Dr. Ros Altmann, the director-general of Saga, said that the findings prove that the over-50s are the ‘generous generation.’”
~ You might enjoy reading, “Aging Boomers Strain Cities Built for the Young,” from The Associated Press (July 9, 2011), which also appeared in USA Today’s “Your Life” section. In brief, the article urges society to be more aware of the impending “Silver Tsunami.” Seniors will soon outnumber schoolchildren in New York City, for instance, and it is suggested cities become more “age-friendly” to help the coming crush of older adults to stay active and independent in their own homes.
Here’s an article that might prove useful for those worrying about a “Boomer Crisis,” from Will Doig on Salon (February 18, 2012), “How to Solve the Boomer Retirement Crisis.” Will notes, “Retirees get blamed for all sorts of problems: sucking up too much Social Security, adding to the healthcare crisis, writing out checks at the supermarket. Just as critical, however, is the fact that the baby boomers, retiring at a clip of 10,000 a day, are hunkering down way out in the suburbs — and sometimes much farther afield” where it is harder to serve them properly.
~ And, while we’re complaining, here’s a telling article by Ben Duronio in Business Insider (March 26, 2012), “Retiring Boomers Are Bad News for US Productivity,” which is somewhat of a surprise. “With a rash of younger workers seeking employment combined with the Baby Boomer’s retirement, declining productivity could become an issue for prospective employers.”
~ Helen Fields writes an inspiring article for Smithsonian Magazine, “What is So Good About Growing Older” (July, 2012). A more recent article by Donna Sapolin for Next Avenue, “9 Best Things About Being Over 50″ (February 20, 2013), provides additional insight. Perhaps growing older is not as bad as some might think ….
~ “Boomers Lead and Drive the New Wave of Entrepreneurs” by Martin Zwilling of Forbes (November 19, 2011), provides an inspiring perspective on Boomers that I like quite a bit: “First of all, the Boomer demographic is currently the single largest, mainstream pool of experienced talent in the market today (76 million people strong). They have worked with high technology and computers for at least 20 years, are highly educated, and highly motivated. Last year about 40% of the total workforce was Boomers. Most surprisingly, according to a report from the Kauffman Foundation, the highest rate of entrepreneurship in America has already shifted to the 55–64 age group, with people over 55 almost twice as likely to found successful companies than those between 20 and 34.”
~ On a personal “philanthropic” note, I believe the increase in “Boomers” could ultimately be beneficial to society and to nonprofit organizations, given that this is a time of life when people tend to consider making substantial charitable contributions. In addition, the “Silver Tsunami” is already inspiring the development of technological advances to help make aging an easier process; this will ultimately be of benefit to all generations. You might enjoy David Crary’s article in the Huffington Post (August 20, 2011), “Boomers Will Be Pumping Billions Into Anti-Aging Industry.”
~ Tom Sightings has written for U.S. News and World Report, “How Baby Boomers Will Change the Economy” (January 15, 2013). “But for those of us looking to invest in the American economy, this burgeoning population means an increasingly lucrative market for products and services focused on the elderly.” I agree!
~ Michael Perry also posted a terrific article on MediaPost that I like very much (July 21, 2011), “Show Some Respect: 7 Golden Rules.” Perry notes, “Unlike other cultures that revere the wisdom of their elders, American society is quick to devalue its adults as they age.” He provides suggestions for improved understanding, communicating with and marketing to “Boomer” and older generations: respect their differences; respect the fact they’ve been around the block; respect their wisdom; respect their “real” lifestyle; respect their work ethic; respect their digital savvy and communication skills; and respect their desire to make a difference. You can find this interesting and helpful article and others in the “Engage: Boomers” series.
~ Last but not least, I enjoyed, “Older People Who Use Twitter Are Less Likely to be Depressed,” University of Alabama (posted on July 18 2012).
“Previous research that suggested that depression increased with age was upheld. Depression is at its lowest around 45 and increases as people age, affecting about 13 percent of the population by the age of 85. But the new findings show that using the internet can help combat this.”