I think it’s safe to say that the argument is over— seniors and all other planned giving prospects are on the Internet.
Here are some findings from the recent Pew Research Center’s study (released in June 2012):
- Half of adults age 65 and older are online.
- As of April 2012, 53% of American adults age 65 and older use the internet or email. Still less likely than all other age groups to use the internet, the latest data represent the first time that half of seniors are going online. After several years of very little growth among this group, these gains are significant.
- Once online, most seniors make internet use a regular part of their lives.
- For most online seniors, internet use is a daily fixture in their lives. Among internet users age 65 and older, 70% use the internet on a typical day. (Overall, 82% of all adult internet users go online on an average day.)
- After age 75, internet and broadband use drops off significantly.
- Internet usage is much less prevalent among members the “G.I. Generation” (adults who are currently age 76 and older)1 than among other age groups. As of April 2012, internet adoption among this group has only reached 34%, while home broadband use has inched up to 21%. SmartGiftmaker believes that many of these folks have already made their decision anyway. According to the National Committee on Planned Giving (Indianapolis, Indiana), only 15% of those who set up gifts to charities in their wills were over 75. Forty-three percent were under 55. Forty-two percent were between 55 and 75.
- Seven in ten seniors own a cell phone, up from 57% two years ago.
- Even among those currently age 76 and older, 56% report owning a cell phone of some kind, up from 47% of this generation in 2010.
- One in three online seniors uses social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
By comparison, email use continues to be the bedrock of online communications for seniors.
- 86% of internet users age 65 and older use email, with 48% doing so on a typical day. Among all adult internet users, 91% use email, with 59% doing so on a typical day.