In our previous blog post, we discussed how millennials are changing the face of philanthropy and how they are impacting the nonprofit industry. And now that we’ve recognized how they’re shifting the industry as we know it, we want to talk about how to reach and connect with this generation.
You may think that you can just include millennials in your regularly-scheduled appeals and communications. And, you can! However, it’s important to know that you may not be successful. Because millennials were brought up and came of age in a flurry of technological advancement, the way you communicate with them should be different than the way you communicate with previous generations, whose members are accustomed to more traditional methods of communication and whose mindset toward philanthropy and giving is different.
Here are our tips for connecting with millennials:
- Don’t just ask for money: Millennials share your passion for your cause, and because of that they may want to be more actively involved. Sure, they might give money, but the millennial generation is one of action. So, in addition to asking them for donations, you may also want to ask them to get involved in upcoming crowdfunding, fundraising and other volunteer opportunities where they can feel that their voices are being heard and their actions are making an impact.
- Be avid storytellers: We’re in an age where information moves FAST! You run the risk of your info getting lost in the shuffle, so make sure it stands out by telling a story. Show millennials how their involvement – either monetary or otherwise – has impacted your mission. Who specifically was affected? What specific project did their donation go toward? What is the status of that project? Millennials want to see who has benefitted from their involvement in a personal way.
- Use the platforms that they use: Yes, this means you need to get on the social media bandwagon. Most millennials will not respond to direct mail or email appeals like previous generations, so it’s important to reach out to them on the platforms that they are using, like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s no secret that this generation is pretty attached to their smartphones, so by avidly using social media to show urgency, ask for donations and tell stories, your millennial givers are more likely to take notice and get involved.
- Make it simple: This generation moves at the speed of Twitter. That’s fast, trust us. So, you don’t want the donation process to be cumbersome and time-consuming. Let them donate via text or on social media. Make it possible for them to donate via credit card or PayPal, as giving them a variety of payment options to choose from lets them decide which one is most convenient for them. The easier the donation process, the more likely you are to get donations from millennials.
There’s no getting around the fact that millennials need to be a focus of your fundraising efforts, but we know that the results of this impact-driven generation are worth it. How is your nonprofit taking steps to engage millennials? If you’re not, we encourage you to find ways to connect with them.