How Nonprofits Can Make Their Reading Materials Senior Friendly

How Nonprofits Can Make Their Reading Materials Senior Friendly

Almost half of senior donors (49%) are enrolled in a monthly giving program.

A Blackbaud Institute study found that the average age of donors in the US in 2019 was 63.

The study found that Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) represent the top source of income for American nonprofits. They account for 34% of the annual donor base in the US, but they contribute to 43 % of all individual donations.

The Mature generation (born 1945 or earlier), on the other hand, represents 26% of overall giving in America. Out of the entire donor pool, mature donors rely most on direct mail to help and participate in the causes they care for (52 % donated by mail and  27 % online, according to the study).

In the UK, Blackbaud Institute reported that the Mature and Baby Boomer generations are the ones with the highest proportion of people giving – at 68% of people in both age groups. These senior donors also contribute to the second-highest number of charities, with more than five charities per person.

83% of the senior population (75 and over) donated to charities in 2019 in England.

How to design your direct mail to older donors?

With older donors, you may need to have a more accessible design in your direct mail campaigns. Here are some great guidelines.

Use Larger Type

Type size must be larger than average.  In print materials, font sizes of 12-points or larger are preferred.

senior man reading a letter

Break It Up

Write short paragraphs and use subheadings to break up the long copy. Also, subheadings make it easy for readers to scan and read only what is important to them.v

Use bold or bigger sized font to emphasise text

To show the importance of a word or parts of your text, use a bolder type weight or bigger sized text.

However, bold text should be used for emphasis rather than being used consistently in the main body of the text. (Source: Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, Ireland)

senior woman reading a letter

Use left aligned text

Avoid justified text as it can lead to large spaces of text between words. This can make sentences more difficult to read, particularly if a person uses text-to-speech software. (Source: Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, Ireland).

Choose your fonts wisely

According to the Canadian Center of Science and Education, the most accessible fonts are:

Sans Serif:

Century Gothic


Times New Roman
Bookman Old Style
 Book Antiqua
Different combinations of font size and style – the top line is a serif font, the middle line a sans serif font, and the bottom line a decorative font.
The same images viewed with reduced visual clarity.

Choosing the right paper

Give preference to matte or uncoated paper —glossy paper can have a glare that makes it harder to read.

Source: Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, Ireland

Choose the right colours

According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB UK), approximately 8% of men and 1% of women have a form of colour vision deficiency.

Some colour combinations should be avoided as they may cause problems for people with a colour vision deficiency (colour blindness). This is more evident if the two colours are very similar in tone, saturation and contrast. The hardest combinations are red and green or yellow and purple.


Leading is the space between lines of text and should be at least 25 to 30 per cent of the point size. This helps readers move their eyes more easily to the next line of text. Heavier typefaces will require slightly more leading. (Canadian National Institute for the Blind)

greater leading helps senior people to read better

Contact us!

Azure Communications has the experience and expertise to help create your fundraising materials for your senior donors.  Call us at (0)1 531 2695 or email