- Associated Press - Saturday, June 30, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Several Omaha nonprofits are shifting strategies to encourage more charitable giving from younger donors.

Omaha’s Habitat for Humanity has moved away from an annual gala event and direct mail donations to focus on casual events popular with younger residents, the Omaha World-Herald reported .

The home-building nonprofit has seen an increase in donations due to a creative and diverse approach to fundraising, said the group’s development officer Meggan Thomas. Habitat’s beer- and food-tasting event attracts 2,000 people each year, she said.

Young donors want their giving experience to feel more communal, Thomas said.

“We can’t just do direct mail anymore, we can’t just do one annual gala event anymore,” Thomas said. “We do have more pipelines of giving than we’ve ever had.”

A recent report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that 55 percent of Americans donated to charity in 2014, down from 66 percent in 2000. The report pointed to an eroding donor base of mostly older givers.

Ruth Henneman, Lutheran Family Services’ vice president of development, said the Omaha nonprofit is implementing mobile giving, social media campaigns and Facebook Live events to attract new donors.

“I think across all generations, it’s really been about convenience,” Henneman said. “Now, there’s so many different channels, so we really want to be strategic. … We really want to listen to those young donors and look at their feedback and find out what works for them.”

Habitat, the United Way of the Midlands and several other local nonprofits are also creating young professionals groups that offer both philanthropic and social experiences.

“I really believe that people want to help people, they want to solve the problems in our society,” Henneman said. “I really believe that everybody is generous.”


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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