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Current U.S. Economy Causes Seniors to Give Less, the Young to Give More

September 2, 2008

The Grizzard Communications Group, an industry leader in integrated, direct response marketing and fundraising, today announced the results of a survey investigating the effects of current economic conditions on donors to charitable causes. Survey results indicate that only 13 percent of respondents expect to increase their giving for the remainder of 2008, while nearly a third (29%) admit to decrease their giving. Surprisingly, donors aged 25-34 were more likely to increase their giving in the fall, while those over the age of 65 were more likely to say they are giving less.

The two-part survey, conducted July 26-29, 2008, generated a pool of 495 respondents who made a financial contribution to a charity other than a house of worship, in the past 12 months. Of these respondents, 10 percent were between the ages of 25-34, 15 percent were 35-44, 24 percent were 45-54, 26 percent were 55-64, and 17 percent were over the age of 65.

Only about half (44%) of respondents look to contribute the same amount as compared to what they gave in the fall of 2007. An additional 29 percent of respondents plan to give less to charitable efforts, with more than one in four (26%) of these individuals planning to stop giving all together.

“As we continue to face these hard economic times, it’s imperative that we continue to focus on building stronger relationships with an organizations best donors. Acquisition efforts continue to decline and will be even more difficult this year. That makes donor retention absolutely critical,” said Chip Grizzard, chief executive officer of Grizzard.

While the number of people expected to diminish their giving is relatively high, the results also show that participants between the ages of 25-34 were the most likely to say they will increase their giving. Grizzard vice president and senior strategist Terry Barber states that this figure is significant because it, “demonstrates that organizations have the opportunity to develop and sustain relationships with a large number of young people that are just now entering the giving arena and eager to make a difference in their community.”

Barber goes on to say that it is especially important to court these young donors as many people over the age of 65, traditionally very reliable in contributing to a cause, look to reduce or cease donations.

Laurel DiBrog, vice president of planning and public affairs for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute agrees. “In order to tap this market, you have to relate to them and understand that word of mouth and establishing an emotional connection is key.” Laurel and her colleagues at Roswell Park Cancer Institute looked at the passion the Y Generation had for volunteerism and their need to be always connected and in 2006 established Yroswell, a website providing resources for cancer and coping, education and studies, as well as future careers in medicine and science to the Y Generation (yroswellpark.org).

Young donors are typically professionals with a college degree. Ansley Alexander a realtor with Coldwell Banker who served on the Board of Kate’s Club (www.katesclub.org) during the 2003/2004 and 2005/2006 terms and continues to help organize the Annual Kate’s Club Cabaret, exemplifies the new breed of donors and the reasons fueling their involvement.

“When I moved to Atlanta, I was looking for an organization to get involved with. When I met Kate and learned about her vision to start a non-profit that empowers children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling, I couldn’t help but get involved,” said Alexander. “I think this spirit of volunteerism is instilled in youth across the country who are looking for a cause that they can align with.”

The survey also assessed a series of retention messages in order to measure what main ideas resonate with donors the most and what is most likely to encourage their increased or on-going support. The survey findings suggest that the most powerful retention messages inform the public how their gifts are used by the organization (31%), or affirm that their contributions are matched by corporate sponsors (27%).

“What this implies is that people are more likely to continue to be involved with their favorite charity as long as they are well-informed on how their gifts or money make a difference,” says Barber. “They want to know that their donation either persuades corporations to get involved, or serves a specific purpose within that charity.”

With the current economic downturn affecting how Americans handle their finances, Grizzard hopes that the survey findings will help non-profit organizations gain insight and new strategies on how to retain and increase donations.

About Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Roswell Park Cancer Institute, founded in 1898, is the nation’s first cancer research, treatment and education center. The Institute was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. RPCI is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

About Kate’s Club

Kate’s Club is a non-profit organization that empowers children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. By creating friendships with kids and young adults that share the experience, Kate’s Club guides children through their grief journey in a comfortable, safe, and uplifting setting. Please visit www.katesclub.org or call 770-618-4474 for more information. 5th Annual Kate’s Club Cabaret is Friday, September 12th at The Foundry at Puritan Mill from 8pm until Midnight. Join us for a great evening including wonderful food, fun entertainment, silent and live auctions and a few surprises – all to benefit Kate’s Club! For tickets or corporate sponsorship opportunities, please contact our Development Director at kimmy@katesclub.org.

About Grizzard

The 89-year-old Grizzard Communications Group is one of the top 10 direct response firms in the United States specializing in integrated fundraising initiatives including direct mail, online integration and alternative media.

Through offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles and several other major U.S. cities, the Grizzard Communications Group serves nonprofits across America. Clients include AARP Foundation, The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Rescue Missions, Food Banks, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, state Sheriffs’ Associations, Habitat for Humanity affiliates, Prostate Cancer Foundation, National Urban League and various Animal Welfare and Humane Societies. More information can be found at www.grizzard.com.

The Grizzard Communications Group is part of Omnicom Group, Inc. (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com). Omnicom is a leading global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.




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