Millennials are now the largest generation in terms of population, outnumbering even Baby Boomers. They are one of the most racially diverse generations compared to their parents and grandparents. They are less likely to be married or own a house, but more likely to go to college. But perhaps the most important characteristic of Generation Y comes from studies that prove that they are more ready and willing to give to causes that they care deeply about. So how do nonprofits make millennials care about their cause, donate their dollars, and become loyal supporters? Our 5 tips will provide nonprofits with actionable ways to grab this group and get them to give to help drive social impact.
1. Meet Millennials Where They Are
The more mediums through which millennials can donate, the more they’ll appreciate the convenience and perhaps be inclined to give. Most importantly, it’s crucial to meet millennials where they already are. We know that millennials are gravely attached to their phones and social media, so organizations should focus donation efforts towards social media platforms and SMS messaging to not only elicit donations, but also as a way of building a relationship with this demographic before going in for the big ask.
We recently worked with Donate Life America, an alliance of national organizations and state teams committed to increasing the number of donated organs, eyes, and tissue available for transplant to save lives. The kind of donations they seek are not always monetary, but rather in the form of people signing up to become organ donors. Donate Life America was able to use SMS to form an effective strategy that lead to over 60,000 users signing up to become an organ donor via their mobile device because their ask was clear, easy, and conveniently performed on a medium their target audience was already accustomed to using.
2. Optimize Donation Pages for Mobile
Millennials spend approximately 230 minutes/day on their smartphones, a number that has more than doubled since 2012. So if you’re trying to get millennials to donate to your cause, you’d better make sure they can do it right from the phone in their hands. Take the time to make sure your website is optimized for mobile — it’s one thing to get mobile users to your site on their phones, but it’s a whole other challenge to keep them on the site. To test your page’s mobile response speed, check out these tools from Google and Pingdom. If your pages don’t load quick enough, they could lose interest and move on.
Speaking of losing interest…
3. Make Them Care, Then Ask
The average attention span of a millennial is only about 8 seconds (that’s shorter than a goldfish!) So while it might seem important for nonprofits to cut to the chase when asking for millennial donations, it’s important to realize that encouraging anyone to give money is a bigger ask then asking them to read a piece of content or even subscribe to a newsletter. Using an effective content strategy to hook millennials quickly and provide an emotional connection to your cause is more effective than bombarding them with a donation ask right away. If you’re looking for content ideas, we’ve found that short videos and funny, bright graphics work well to grab the attention of millennials.
Remember millennials, like other demographics, must be moved through the funnel of engagement and be interested and engaged with meaningful and helpful content before a donation ask.
4. Be transparent
One thing millennials value highly is transparency. They may be a very generous and giving generation, but they’re cautiously optimistic when it comes to giving away their money. Make sure anyone who donates to your cause knows exactly where their dollars are going.
We can take a page from New Story, a nonprofit that aims to transform slums into sustainable communities. They allow site visitors to meet specific families first, and then choose to donate and help rebuild their home. Donors can clearly see who they are impacting, and they feel secure that their money is helping a real family with real need. They can also see how much a home for a specific family will cost, and how much has been raised so far. New Story makes it clear on multiple pages of their site that 100% of the funds donated go towards building homes to build trust with their audience.
5. Personalization is key
When it comes to thanking millennial donors, the more personalized your organization can be the better. This is true for a lot of demographics, as people appreciate being acknowledged! But according to the National Center for Family Philanthropy, “millennials tend to give more frequently, in small amounts, to more causes.” So if your nonprofit wants to capture this generation of repeat donors, making sure they feel appreciated after they give is critical. According to a case study on GlobalGiving, a nonprofit that connects nonprofits, donors, and private companies worldwide to raise money for grassroot causes, they were able to see a 10x increase in engagement from personalized email marketing.
If you’re looking for more ideas, checkout our piece on how to be more personal and thank your donors beyond email.
Have more ideas on how to attract millennials to donate? Tweet us @WholeWhale!