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New report explores perspectives of young donors in SWMO

Feb. 13, 2024

New education, grant opportunities to help nonprofit partners adapt to shifting trends in philanthropy

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks and Habitat Communication & Culture announced the release of “Shaping Tomorrow: A Study of Young Donors’ Perspectives on Charitable Giving in Southwest Missouri” at the CFO’s office in Springfield today. Representatives from Habitat shared insights with the CFO’s nonprofit partners to help them better understand the attitudes of donors under 40.

Among the report’s insights and recommendations:

  • Donors under 40 define charitable giving differently than their parents. Those under 40 largely reported being less religious and less conservative than their parents or grandparents, and this ideological shift influences their charitable behavior.
  • Younger audiences are less trusting of established nonprofits and dedicate a larger share of their giving directly to individuals or families. Technologies like GoFundMe and Venmo have fueled the sense that donors can bypass organizations to directly fund community needs.
  • Building and maintaining trust with younger donors requires a multi-faceted approach that includes leveraging personal relationships, showcasing a strong visual brand, and demonstrating the impact of programs and gifts.
  • Organizations must make it easy to give. Nearly half of respondents abandoned an online donation — the preferred method of giving for donors ages 23–60 — because the platform was too difficult to use.

Cfo shaping tomorrow presentation 16x9 1

Paige Oxendine and Spencer Harris of Habitat Communication & Culture share insights from the “Shaping Tomorrow” report with CFO staff and nonprofit partners.

The CFO commissioned the research in 2023 with support from the Patterson Family Foundation. The research was prompted by the “Giving by Generations” report from the Lilly School of Philanthropy that indicated younger generations gave at a lesser rate than older generations, but did not consider nontraditional giving through platforms like GoFundMe.

“While we live in a generous region, we know our younger community members think and give differently than older generations,” said CFO President Emeritus Brian Fogle, who initially engaged Habitat for the study. “We appreciate the work of Habitat Communication & Culture to help our nonprofit community adapt to the shifting trends in philanthropy.”

Download a brief summary and the full report at

To help its nonprofit partners make the most of the report’s findings, the CFO announced new educational and grant opportunities. CFO nonprofit partners can attend three educational events related to the “Shaping Tomorrow” report:

  • Feb. 21: Information session on Jumpstart, a capacity-building program centered on the Bonterra fundraising platform
  • Feb. 27: Education session on messaging to the donor base, storytelling and visual presentation, presented by Network for Strong Communities
  • March 5: Education session on donor database essentials, presented by Network for Strong Communities

The “Shaping Tomorrow” grant program, supported by a gift from David and Stacey O’Reilly, is open exclusively to the CFO’s nonprofit partners. Agencies may apply for up to $5,000 to implement new programs or strategies to engage younger donors and develop online giving platforms. The deadline for applications is Thursday, March 14. Nonprofit partners can begin the application process at

“We are grateful to David and Stacey O’Reilly for their generosity in supporting this effort,” said Winter Kinne, president and CEO of the CFO. “These opportunities will help our nonprofit partners meet the expectations of new donors.”

The CFO partners with about 700 nonprofits across central and southern Missouri. The CFO manages funds on behalf of the nonprofits and provides value-added services designed to strengthen and build capacity for the nonprofit partners.

Find more information about the educational events and grant program at

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