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Nonprofits need to engage with Millennials, particularly as they enter their late 30’s and are already in leadership positions within the organizations where they work. They are also the largest generation in the workforce at present.

As with every generation, this group is different than earlier groups because they’re shaped by the experiences that occurred in their lives as they were growing up. For Millennials, one of the most significant experiences they had which, for example, Gen X did not have was social media and technology becoming an integrated aspect of their lives. A few quick realities about Millennials are the following:

  • Millennials make up the largest segment of the workforce.
  • The vast majority of Millennials have donated to charity.
  • 70 percent of Millennials volunteer their time.
  • Millennials are distrustful of traditional institutions.

Successful Engagement

It’s crucial for nonprofit organizations to engage with Millennials and to do it well, there are 3 ways that we’re going to share with you to make sure that your group is doing it successfully.

  1. First, go with mobile. Millennials grew up with technology, including mobile phones, and they are very comfortable using it. This generation uses their cell phones much as earlier generations used computers. One of the best ways on mobile for nonprofits to communicate with Millennials is by sending texts. Text messages sent to Millennials have an incredible open rate of 98 percent. Understand that this group is disinclined to read emails or even respond to voice calls. It goes without saying, but your website should also be optimized for mobile devices, particularly because 91 percent of Millennials will first review an organization’s website.
  2. Social media is an essential form of communication.Millennials are very into social networking. We’ve noticed in our work with shoe drive fundraising partners that the groups who are highly active in communicating through social media platforms have results that typically exceed the success of other partners who minimize social networking. A great formula to use is to spend one-third of your time providing exciting stories and information about industry topics related to the work you do. The next third of your social media posts should focus on your group and the fantastic work that you’re doing in your community––always making a point to demonstrate impact. And finally, the last third of your posts should focus on creating compelling calls to action for your supporters.
  3. Millennials are all about others. As opposed to Generation X, which has often be referred to as the “me generation,” Millennials care very much about others. They are firm believers in their responsibility to society and others in their communities. Contrary to what many people think, they care less about their self-interest than they do about the collective community. However, Millennials are different in how they support nonprofit groups. Unlike earlier generations, they want to have more direct experience in social good. As an example, Millennials prefer to give their time directly as volunteers and provide service over making a financial donation. However, when Millennials do make a charitable contribution, they do so because they have been engaged and believe that they are making a meaningful difference.

Because Millennials are more distrustful of traditional institutions, they will not financially support any cause that does not demonstrate impact. They are much more open to nonconventional solutions or creative ideas that may not have been tried in the past. Finally, because they care very much about others and are less self-interested than earlier generations, to fully engage them, provide them with opportunities to get actively involved in your group’s work with volunteer opportunities.

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