CEO Insights: Stop ignoring the 16-year-old philanthropist

March 17, 2022
3 minutes
Blue-shaded blocks surround a half-moon with Justin Wheeler's face in it. Another dark blue half-moon says "CEO Insights".
Justin is Funraise's CEO, a co-founder, and a bad-ass, experienced nonprofit fundraiser. Like a true fundraiser-turned-founder, he breaks down the concepts behind Funraise's mission everywhere he can make nonprofits' voices heard.

When I was with Invisible Children, our ideal donor age was 16. Yep, 16 years old.

Teen Donors are overlooked at almost every nonprofit. If you want to grow your online fundraising, stop ignoring this group of donors.

When I was at Invisible Children, I saw tens of thousands of teenagers donate millions of dollars.

And what we found was something that blew our minds:

when we highlighted the importance of our work and proved to the 16-year-old donor that we were actually doing what we said we were doing...

16-year-old donors would choose us over a new iPhone.

So, how did we do it? We made charity relevant.

We fundraised on their channels. But most importantly, we tapped into something that almost no other donor demographic has...Obsessive optimism. The kind of optimism that allows your ideas to become reality.

If you want to build a fundraising machine that turns into a movement for your nonprofit, start investing in a young donor program.

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