Appealing to Millennial Donors
By Crystal Stasyszen, HoganTaylor Tax Staff
As the largest living and most digitally connected generation, Millennials can offer a broad range of support to nonprofits. In addition to monetary donations, Millennials want to offer their time, knowledge, experience, and networking skills. The best way to attract donations from Millennials is to use the communication platforms that they are comfortable with.
Nonprofits cannot rely on traditional forms of donor solicitation to attract Millennials because Millennials make donations to causes that they are emotionally invested in. Websites and social media platforms, like Facebook, are consistently updated with stories, photos, and videos showcasing what an organization has accomplished with the resources it has been given, which can be valuable tools for attracting the next generation of donors. They want to see how their donations have made a difference, so using a website to share specific information on how their money helps further the cause they are supporting encourages Millennials to donate. Online resources also allow Millennials to leverage their marketing power by sharing an organization’s mission through their social media networks.
According to the “2014 Millennial Impact Report”, Millennials prefer to learn about volunteer opportunities from their peers and want to know how the time they have contributed has benefited people. Social media platforms and well-maintained websites are excellent means to get Millennials involved as volunteers. Organizations may need to re-examine their volunteer or fundraising structure to allow enough flexibility for Millennials to contribute on their own terms. While they may not want to participate in the annual fundraising dinner, they might have an idea for a peer-to-peer marketing campaign that could raise a significant amount of capital without using an organization’s resources. Allowing Millennials to volunteer on their own terms is necessary because they are more likely to give a large donation to an organization where they have enjoyed a long-term volunteer relationship. They are also more likely to solicit donations from their peers for the organizations they have volunteered with. Incorporating tools into a website for creating a fundraiser or soliciting fundraising ideas through social media are effective ways to harness Millennials’ creative abilities.
The article “Millennials and the Social Sector: What’s Next?” by Derrick Feldman and Emily Yu discusses the fact that Millennials want instant access to information, so mobile technology is critical for communication. Building a mobile-friendly website puts the ability to contribute to or share a cause with friends at the fingertips of future donors. Once a donation is made, a follow up email can communicate exactly how those donations impacted a recipient, which also satisfies the Millennials desire for instant information.
Websites, especially mobile friendly versions, and social media platforms are the best way to communicate with Millennial donors. While implementing these forms of communication may represent a significant cost, especially for smaller organizations, the implementation also represents an opportunity to begin relationships with Millennials that are willing to donate their time and expertise.