Millennials are one of the biggest resources that nonprofits can tap into today, and the good news is that you don’t necessarily need to make Millennials care. They already want to volunteer and donate. According to the most recent Millennial Impact Report, 72% of Millennials are interested in participating in a nonprofit young professional group, and 83% of the report’s respondents made a financial gift to an organization in 2012. Millennials are both more connected with their world and more available for involvement. However, Millennials also operate a little differently when it comes to their volunteering and giving habits. With interests in online activity, crowdfunding, smartphones, and finding a personal connection with a cause, nonprofits need to examine how best to reach out to Millennials.
How can your nonprofit engage Millennial donors and volunteers? Read on for four ways to make a difference with this savvy demographic.
Pay Attention to Your Website
Today, connecting with Millennials online is imperative to the success of your nonprofit. Millennials are far more likely to donate online than in person by check or cash, and an overwhelming number of Millennials rely on their smartphones for online communication and entertainment. For these reasons, it is important to optimize your nonprofit’s site for Millennial engagement. Start by making sure your site is easy to navigate and find information about your organization; employing a responsive design so that it is simple to view and navigate on mobile devices; and using your blog to tell stories, share images, and give real examples of what your organization does.
Use What You Know about Their Demographic
To gain a better idea about how to engage Millennials, try utilizing donor management software to generate reports that tell you exactly who is getting involved with your cause. Donor management software allows you to implement donor and volunteer tracking to analyze the activity of those involved in your organization. Utilizing specific statistics can allow you to allocate your resources effectively, narrow your focus, and define your goals more clearly for increased community impact and funding.
Play to Their Strengths
Once you have more clearly defined the activity of your Millennial donors and volunteers, the next step is to tailor the opportunities you offer to fit their skills. The majority of nonprofits rely on place-based volunteering, but you may want to consider an approach to volunteering that is more skill-based. Millennials are more likely to be tech-savvy, want to volunteer in order to gain professional experience, connect via social media, donate online, show interest in a cause rather than a specific organization, and use their strengths to volunteer (not just their time). Try offering unique opportunities to get involved, allocating your resources to online activity, and emphasizing the mission and impact of your organization (not just its activity).
Let Them Donate on Their Terms
It may be smartest to give your Millennial demographic choices when it comes to involvement. The Millennial Impact Report states that in 2012 most Millennials gave between $1 and $50 to nonprofits, with the largest donation being around $100. Because they may not necessarily have an excess of disposable income, Millennials respond well to the choose-your-own-donation-amount approach. (Take the popularity of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, for example—the average Kickstarter donor is between 25 and 34 years old.) Try offering specific suggested donation levels, but also give them an option to write in an amount. You can also present them with volunteering opportunities if they can’t/don’t want to donate.
Have you found a way to involve the Millennial demographic with your nonprofit? How do you think engaging Millennials will change the way nonprofits grow? Submit your thoughts and stories with the Mission Accomplished! blog here to let us know.