Often labeled as a "lazy" generation without the drive to succeed, millennials have nevertheless become an essential part of the financial support received by today's nonprofit organizations. With millions of baby boomers reaching retirement and seeing their salaries transform into rigid, fixed incomes, nonprofits have seen a shift in giving to the younger generation.
Is there a secret to getting donations from millennials? Are they truly as selfish and self-centered as pop culture would have us believe?
Statistics gathered by CNBC recently revealed some interesting facts about millennial charitable giving:
"A hefty 84 percent of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014, and 70 percent spent at least an hour volunteering, according to the Millennial Impact Report by research group Achieve."
What's the Best Way to Reach Millennials for Donations?
Without a doubt, online social media campaigns are the best option for reaching millennials. Many millennials have transformed their lives into wholly digital experiences by eliminating their land line phone and switching their bills from traditional postal service delivery to monthly emails.
The same concept is true for awareness and giving to nonprofit organizations. Millennials are reaching a point in their financial growth that giving money makes sense (for tax benefits, as well as personal growth), and giving usually means social giving or online giving. Social media and access to instant giving through smartphone apps is the best way to reach millennial givers.
How Can a Nonprofit Appeal to Millennials for Help?
A successful social media campaign may mean rapid viral success and popularity with millennials, but recent evidence also points toward volunteerism as a millennial's preferred method of charitable giving. The most effective social media campaign for millennial engagement could be the one that requests time rather than money.
An article in The Huffington Post reveals:
"Passion is the top reason why millennials, aged 18 to 34, support a charitable cause, a recent study by insurer Country Financial found. Favorite charities include those that affect a family member or friend, or have strong community ties."
For nonprofit entities where finding volunteers is just as important as soliciting monetary donations, the high likelihood that the average millennial will donate his or her time to a cause means nonprofits should be tailoring their campaigns to the millennial generation.
Millennials Drive Popularity through Social Sharing
One of the reasons the incredibly successful "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" became a viral hit, was because of millennial celebrities in the public eye who shared their challenge results, as well as millennials that chose to spread the word because of a need for social engagement.
One of the demands millennials make of the nonprofits and charities to which they donate is results, and they also want the ability to share evidence of their contribution. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge not only satisfied the average millennial's need to do some social sharing, but it also resulted in a scientific breakthrough for researchers of the disease.
The Washington Post recently shared:
"With the millions raised for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research from the viral stunt, the ALS Association said it was able to fund research that identified a new gene, NEK1, that contributes to the disease."
Millennials are keen to share evidence of their activities through social media, and they want to cultivate a reputation as socially conscious individuals who are just as responsible and aware as their predecessors. Gaining millennial-age supporters means reaching them through their preferred method, the internet, and giving them options for sharing evidence of their charitable giving.
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