Attracting Donations from Millenials

A few weeks ago there was an article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy titled, “75% of Young Donors Turned Off by Out-of-Date Web Sites.” Interestingly enough, this generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings want to see the same things that everyone wants to see: success stories, good news about the cause and highlights of the people it serves. Does this mean that they are not the self-absorbed generation we have been lead to believe? Or, does it mean that they are doing what generations and generations before them have done; grown up and realized that donating to nonprofits feels good – even if you can only give at a relatively lower level.

I, for one, hope it is the latter. And think that nonprofits that ignore this group of potential givers in exchange for larger gifts from an older crowd are missing the point of my series on the importance of donor retention (Click here to see the year-long series).

So what can a nonprofit do to encourage these gifts? Here are a some suggestions:

  • Offer monthly payments (see the Chronicle of Philanthropy article for the staggering statistics).
  • Post success stories on Facebook, images on Instagram, and anything else that will help remind this group that you are continually striving to achieve your mission. Use the same stories you would use for a newsletter but…
  • Make it a quick read. While some of your older donors may appreciate an in depth story, millenials want a brief version with images. You are competing for their attention – act like it.
  • Remind them that your success is because of all donors – great and small. (What if you mentioned that this year you were able to raise $X,XXX,XXX in gifts under $100)
  • According to the article, three out of four of these “young donors have liked, retweeted or shared nonprofit content on social networks.” In other words, provide stories and images in a way that they can share.
  • Ensure that your website can be viewed on mobile devices. Just as land lines are disappearing from homes, people no longer have to sit at a computer to read the latest and greatest about your organization. Any web designer (and many a millennial) can help you out with this one.

The goal is to create a legion of followers without adding a huge amount of extra work. Be strategic about your moves and be consistent. These individuals may only be able to give $50 this year, or $10 this month, but you don’t know what the future holds.