Generational Marketing – Traditionalists

Traditionalists include those aged 77+ and will be a key group when it comes to your planned giving outreach.

Learning how to communicate with this portion of the population is important for your success. Discovering the nuances and what makes this group different will allow you to interact with intent and respect.

The world has changed drastically over the course of a traditionalists’ life. They have experienced major shifts in every facet of life. Most of us have not experienced what it’s like to be in this final stage. As fundraisers, we must educate ourselves on how to properly communicate with this mature audience so we do not alienate or frustrate this donor base. Below are a few notes on ways to communicate, market, and interact with the eldest of donors.


This generation responds best to personal and direct communications. The more personal, the better.

1. Face-to-face interactions

      • In person meetings with their schedule in mind
      • Meet where they feel most comfortable (their home, a quite coffee shop or diner, your office)

2. Personal phone calls

      • Make calls yourself or have a dedicated gift officer call
      • Do your research before you call. Know personal information (preferred name, the name of their spouse, the name of their pet, recent events in their lives)

3. Handwritten notes and letters

      • Thank you notes or letters written out (as opposed to being typed) show you have taken the time to communicate


Your marketing materials should be designed with this group in mind. Larger fonts, more white space, and appropriate imagery should be used.

1. Print materials

      • Watch your grammar and manners
      • Use images that depict life – not aging

2. Direct Mail

      • Postcards, pamphlets, self-mailers
      • Include multiple ways for donors to get in contact with you
      • Include a picture of yourself

3 Tips:

1. Use simple, straightforward content and imagery

      • Stay away from technical terms and instead use everyday language
      • Use imagery that depicts living
      • Deliver your message based on the history and traditions of your organization – help your donors feel as though they belong

2. Do not take their loyalty for granted

      • Recognize their continued support
      • Show that you know they are an important part of your organization

3. Show respect and up your ‘thank-you’ game

      • Address as Mr., Mrs., Sir, Ma’am – use first names when instructed
      • Listen first, then ask clarifying questions to demonstrate that you’re listening closely

Future Training Thursdays will center around

other generations you will come in contact with:

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