They’re here. Millennials gain prominence in society and commerce each year, making them an attractive population to help expand and diversify your organization’s donor base. What remains elusive, however, is how to attract this sect of donors, larger in number than Baby Boomers, after years of focusing on predominantly older donors — those who tend to be the most likely to give.
- During their presentation “The Donors of Tomorrow: Effective Ways to Engage Young Audiences” at the 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., Rachel Clemens, chief marketing officer for TradeMark Media, and Ashley Wilson, vice president of marketing and communications for LIVESTRONG, discussed best practices in attracting the Millennial supporters. These included six fundamental steps:
- Understand the younger audience. Millennials understand technology, are racially diverse, want stories to build connections, and are not attracted to communications that look like they are being sold something. An Abila software study showed that preferred channel preferences among donors include peer-to-peer, radio and TV ads, and email;
- Focus on design. Younger audiences like to be engaged and delighted with visuals such as animation. This does not need to be expensive. Simple design principles such as white space and typography can go a long way;
- Recognize them. Consider giving swag or incentives for those who support your organization such as LIVESTRONG’s yellow band. Public thank you messages such as spotlighting partners on social media can also be effective;
- Be transparent and authentic. Watchdog groups such as Charity Navigator can be helpful in this respect. An example of transparency is the post-Ice Bucket Challenge infographic that was developed to show how donations were spent. An example of authenticity is LIVESTRONG chronicling the experience of a cycling challenge event on social media;
- Increase inclusion. Collective action and participation are valuable. Peer-to-peer fundraising and peer giving groups help lend authenticity. Consider satellite parties for larger events and zanier events such as color runs; and,
- Incorporate Millennials throughout the organization. Millennials like to volunteer, so it’s very possible that is how they will come to your organization. Develop a volunteer-donor action plan and think about ways to retain them, help them become advocates, and — down the line — members of your board. Ensure that your board is tapped into the voice of this younger generation. Also evaluate whether younger individuals are in positions of leadership within your organization.