Having worked alongside a range of nonprofit organizations over the years, we’ve seen firsthand the twists and turns that the giving space has gone through. Their biggest challenge? Targeting Millennials. Authenticity and practicality are hallmark values in Millennials’ lives. They have grown into a more pragmatic generation than expected and because of this, brand loyalty can’t take place unless they believe an organization embodies these same values.
According to a recent article in Forbes, Millennials are rising in influence when it comes to giving. In 2014, 84% of Millennial employees gave to charity and 70% of them donated more than an hour to a charitable cause. If you’re looking to raise your numbers and increase your engagement with this audience, follow along as we take you through everything you need to know about why Millennials give, where they give, and how they give.
WHY they give:
CONNECTION: Millennials look to cause as a way to be invested emotionally — both personally and with their communities. They want to be able to relate their own story to the cause they’re supporting. Convey why your cause matters in ways that are emotional, informative, and relevant.
PARTICIPATION: Millennials are broadening the definition of philanthropy to include not only financial gifts, but contributions of time or influence; they want to participate in the causes they care about — with their friends. Millennials care about issues, not institutions. What motivates them is a desire to use their skills to affect their cause through your organization. Encourage volunteering as a pathway to becoming a loyal donor and allow opportunities to engage in your organization, not only as individuals but with groups of friends as well.
WHERE they give:
IMPACT: Millennials donate to causes that show impact and results. They want to see what they are giving to, want to know a difference is being made, and want to feel inspired by the cause. They typically look for information about what the organization does and how donations are used when they check a nonprofit’s website. “Self-talk” doesn’t impress; they are less interested in the people or the ideas behind a nonprofit than they are in the results that the nonprofit produces. Practice transparency and leverage your current digital resources to better communicate real-time impact.
PASSION: When Millennials are personally invested in a cause they care about, they look for companies and products that share their passion. Increasingly, the quickest way to a donor’s wallet is through the heart — so start focusing on human connection, rather than dry details. Brands that support equal rights and opportunities are best positioned to click with the masses, particularly as open-minded Millennials enter their peak earning years and assert more dominance in the marketplace.
HOW they give:
DIGITALLY: Phones have become their gateway to all giving opportunities. In the last year, the majority of transactions happened online with a mobile device. If you can get Millennials to fall in love with your cause and become social media brand evangelists for you, you can unleash a potential firestorm of influence. Optimize your website to be mobile-friendly — allowing your audience to easily navigate and engage with the information that is most important to them.
SHARING: Millennials have an intrinsic desire to share what they care about. But they don’t just share charitable causes on social media — it’s also where new causes are discovered. If you want to raise funds, you absolutely must embrace social media. Provide people with photos and videos to share. Create hashtags surrounding your cause. Make every facet of your website shareable.
If you take one thing away from everything you’ve read, it’s this: The greatest thing any organization can do to connect with Millennials is help them advance their purpose by expanding their knowledge on issues they care about most.