I often hear from nonprofit fundraisers that they’re having trouble attracting younger supporters as their current donor base ages.
The most common root cause of this complaint? Many small nonprofits don’t have a tailored strategy for engaging Millennial donors in ways that resonate. Younger supporters won’t just stumble into championing your cause—they need specific and meaningful outreach. How do you adapt your approach and include this generation in your planning?
Luckily, the folks at Achieve offer great insight on Millennial volunteers, alumni, employees, and donors in their Millennial Impact Report and their annual MCON event, which brings together thought leaders, innovators, and powerful speakers to act and find creative solutions for social issues. Next week, MCON comes to Washington, DC and Network for Good is excited to be part of the community.
Along with the wonderful insights from MCON, here are five strategies for better engaging Millennials and attracting younger donors to your cause:
Enlist them with advocacy programs to spread the word.
Remember that Millennials often see themselves as activists and want to do more than just give—they want to be involved. Have a key message you want shared through social media? Pre-write some posts and compelling images to share them with your volunteers so they can be your social ambassadors! Your younger supporters can help you quickly amplify urgent updates, petitions, and event announcements.
Leverage their networks (and social savvy) through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.
Recruit Millennials as your partners in fundraising! Over 70% have urged others to give. They can be powerful champions for your cause, because they love to spread the word and often have large, diverse networks. Peer fundraising is a familiar activity for this generation, the key is to make it easy and fun to do with personalized pages on a mobile-friendly peer-to-peer fundraising platform, along with prepared messages supporters can quickly grab, share, and make their own in emails, blog posts, social media updates, and text messages. (Need a tool that makes this easy for you and your young fundraisers? We can help. Get a personalized tour of our peer-to-peer fundraising software.)
Encourage skills-based volunteering to fill your gaps.
According to Derrick Feldmann, President at Achieve, Millennials are eager volunteers. He shared this insight, “Nearly half (45%) of Millennial employees participated in a company-wide volunteer day. Among those who volunteered, 29% did so because they were interested in the cause, and more than three-quarters (77%) said they were more likely to volunteer if they can use their specific skills or expertise. When partnering with businesses for volunteers, nonprofits should leverage the skills and knowledge of those employees to benefit the cause.”
Welcome their input, including board participation.
Want to attract more Millennial supporters? Start from the inside. Generosity, Inc. founder Jamie McDonald offers this advice, “Bring Millennials onto your team. Hire Millennials. Invite one or two to join your board. Even if you have a give/get for board members, encourage Millennials to run a race or do a crowdfunding campaign as a way to fulfill their commitment. They’re worth it. With their robust social networks, youthful passion and idealism, they can contribute in ways that are more important than money. Think of Millennial team members as beacons that can shine a light on your organization with huge networks of friends, family and colleagues.”
Inspire Millennial donors with a more meaningful (and connected) giving experience.
Research has shown that Millennials crave clarity on the impact their donation will have. Your giving experience should not only be fast and easy (for Millennials this means customized online donation pages with social and mobile-optimized options), but it should consistently illustrate and underscore meaningful stories of impact from your organization. Inspire millennials online, in the moment, to urge them to action. They tend to be impulsive givers, so provide quick ways to act when there is a compelling reason to do so.
Each generation segment in your nonprofit’s list has its own unique set of qualities that can create a diverse and well-rounded community of supporters. By understanding the habits and giving preference for each age group, you can enjoy vastly better fundraising results and more highly engaged donors. Don’t miss out on the opportunities that Gen Y has to offer—make sure you include your Millennial supporters as part of your outreach strategy.