ICYMI: Last One Picked — Millennials Fear Being Left Out

May 9, 2016       Andy Segedin      

You’re in the process of organizing a fundraising event. Do you have your venue and entertainment booked? Check. Is your fundraising team hard at work engaging donors and driving up attendance? Check. Are you taking advantage of FOMO?

FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” is a colloquialism among Millennials, according to author Darian Rodriguez-Heyman and KC Fox, senior marketing manager at Eventbrite. It might also be used as a means of driving youth toward your next event, the duo said during a session at the recent Association of Fundraising Professionals’ international conference in Boston.

Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. and spent $803 million on live events in 2015 while representing 11 percent of charitable giving, according to Rodriguez-Heyman. They tend to be more passionate about live events and social impact than they are organizations. Representation on social media, not a check in the mail, is the pinnacle of giving for Millennials, Rodriguez-Heyman said.

Past generations might associate status with cars and houses, but Millennials are an experience generation, Fox added. By checking into an event or posting images on social media, peers are able to see what individuals are doing. An associated fear of missing out on the experiences their peers are enjoying can be used to organizations’ advantage, Fox said.

Throughout the session Fox and Rodriguez-Heyman discussed means of both engaging Millennials and boosting event attendance. Strategies discussed included:

* Fund a need. In a fashion similar to crowdfunding, make clear objectives and break down goals. An event to fund a park, for instance, might have a $100 goal for a swing, $1,000 for a slide and $5,000 for a jungle gym. Attendees’ social mentality can be leveraged in an auction-style format;

* Create a calendar to plan out messaging in advance of an event. A calendar facilitates understanding of who on staff will post what and when. The average nonprofit commits roughly 10 hours per week to social media. Using the time and talents of five staffers two hours per week as opposed to one staffer 10 hours per week provides variety in messaging and can help fill gaps created by sick days and vacations. Communications should launch about four to six weeks prior to an event and early registration should be encouraged;

* Experiment with message timing. Emails sent from Tuesday through Thursday in mid-morning or mid-afternoon tend to work best, because that is when inboxes are typically the most empty. Social media is most successful during downtime, including the early morning, lunchtime, late night and weekends. Experiment with what works best and utilize tools such as Hootsuite to schedule messages ahead of time;

* Be short and sweet. The optimal Tweet on Twitter is 130 characters (140 is the maximum allowed) and requesting reTweets drives engagement. Eighty characters is the ideal Facebook post, outperforming longer posts by two-thirds. Facebook should be posted on from once a week to twice daily. Twitter should have at least one post per day with no maximum;

* Utilize unique ticket types such as season tickets, membership, early-bird and bulk discount. Be sure to give attendees the ability to post that they have bought a ticket on social media immediately upon purchase. Two-thirds of shares on an event page come after a ticket purchase. A share’s monetary value is estimated at $4; and,

* Curate content. Video and photos drive engagement, as do tags. Ask questions to drive conversation. Abide by the 50/50 rule. At least half of posts should not be about your organization. A breast cancer organization, for instance, can post research articles.