5 Ways To Attract Millennials To Your Nonprofit

Tina Jepson
Tina Jepson

It takes more than being on social media and having an eye-catching logo to attract millennials to your nonprofit.

This generation of donors and volunteers, born between 1980 and 2000, is more interested in getting their hands dirty, staying connected, and seeing the change occur firsthand than simply mailing nonprofits a check every year.

Unfortunately, many nonprofits ignore millennials. After all, most people falling within this age group are saddled with huge amounts of student loan debt. Why focus on this younger generation when Generation X and the Baby Boomers can supply them with consistent donations?

I’ll tell you why! It’s because millennials are the future of your organization. They are brand loyal and cause-driven. If your nonprofit is committed to changing lives, then millennials will be lining up to support you if you give them what they’re looking for.

Now is the time to start earning the support of millennials. Here are 5 ways to attract millennials to your nonprofit.

1. Earn Their Trust

Nonprofits, especially large ones, cannot simply assume that a pledge form or broad platform will attract millennials. In fact, this generation is more skeptical of big businesses, corporations, and nonprofits than any other generation.

Your nonprofit needs to earn the trust of millennials. Do this by showing the impact of your work. According to the 2011 Millennial Donors Report, 78% of millennials are very likely or somewhat likely to stop donating if they didn’t know how the donation was making an impact and 90% of donors would stop giving if they do not trust an organization.

“Your nonprofit needs to earn the trust of millennials. Do this by showing the impact of your work…” tweet this

Show your impact and earn their trust by:

  • Creating content that highlights the importance of your organization’s work in the form of videos or personal stories.

Social Media posts per week

  • Frequently using social media to communicate clear, consistent, and up-to-date information about what’s happening at your nonprofit.
  • Using graphics to show millennials where their money was spent. This generation appreciates transparency, so create an infographic that details the donor’s return on investment.

2. Make Your Story Count

Don’t just rely on statistics to show your impact and attract millennials to your nonprofit. Share stories with substance.

Millennials are impulsive donors– they give when they feel inspired. Not surprisingly, 42% of donors reported that they donate to whatever inspires them at the moment. 

“42% of millennial donors reported that they donate to whatever inspires them at the moment…” tweet this

As a nonprofit, you have to figure out how to capitalize on this generation’s spontaneity. Most often, a good story or visual adds the substance that you need. So focus on storytelling techniques that evoke emotion and always end with a statement that encourages the audience to immediately take action. 

3. Connect Online

For most millennials, the Internet is one of the most important ways to connect with friends, family, businesses, and nonprofits. That means that you must put significant effort into staying active on social media and keeping your website up-to-date to attract millennials to your nonprofit.

The 2013 Millennial Impact Report found that a whopping 51% of millennials connected with a nonprofit via social media and 70% donated through a nonprofit’s website.

On average, millennials follow anywhere from 1 to 5 nonprofits online. It is up to your nonprofit to create a strong online presence to ensure that you are one of those organizations that has a millennial following.

Here are 2 easy ways to connect with millennials online:

  • Optimize your website for mobile capability. 76% of millennials say that navigating non-mobile-friendly sites is significantly frustrating.
  • Update social media frequently. For guidance, follow this chart.

4. Offer Volunteer Options

Don’t just focus on soliciting donations, ask millennials to give their time as a volunteer.

“Don’t just focus on soliciting donations, ask millennials to give their time as a volunteer…” tweet this

Though older generations place a higher value on money than time, this generation believes that their time is equally as valuable as their money, meaning that they place a high value on your nonprofit if they choose to volunteer.

That value, coupled with the fact that Millennials are faced with high debt, high costs of living, and low salaries for entry-level positions, makes volunteerism a worthwhile and meaningful way for them to contribute.

As one Millennial put it: “Giving my time and leadership to an organization is something I can do while I can’t give a lot financially at this point in life.”

5. Incentivize Giving

Millennials love a good incentive, and according to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report, this generation is highly motivated by name recognition and prizes in exchange for a donation.

Here are 2 ways that your nonprofit can incentivize giving:

  • Matching gifts: Let your donors know if their donation will be matched, either by an employer or another donor. A leveraged gift provides a substantial incentive for giving, and 69% of millennials said that they would be more likely to give if they know their employer matched their donation.
  • Tangible incentives: Provide perks for younger donors giving at a certain level, but not necessarily something that your nonprofit has to spend money on. For example, host quarterly networking events to bring your donors under the age of, say 35, that give $100 or more annually. Your millennial donors will appreciate a shoutout on social media, access to an event, or special recognition.

It’s time for nonprofits to start adapting their strategies to align with the traits that millennials are looking for. By incorporating these 5 ways to attract millennials to your nonprofit, you are bound to turn some heads and increase your reach to this surprisingly generous generation.

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