As non-profit organizations look for new ways to attract donors and raise funds, one goal stands out as particularly important: drive millennial engagement. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, were born between 1981 and 1996. This generation is known for being highly connected and tech-savvy, as well as socially conscious and value-driven. In fact, studies show that millennials are more likely to donate to charity than any other generation, making them a key demographic for non-profits to engage with. This generation presents a significant opportunity for non-profits to drive growth and make a real impact on the causes they support. But how do non-profits reach this demographic and convince them to donate?
By first taking a step back.
Before you ask a millennial to donate, it’s important to engage them with your organization first; show them your value before you make an ask.
To effectively engage with millennial donors, it’s important to understand their unique characteristics and preferences. Millennials are more likely to support causes that align with their personal values and beliefs; they’re also highly skeptical of traditional advertising and are more likely to trust peer recommendations and online reviews.
So before you asked them for their support, show them why they should.
Here are five strategies for connecting and engaging millennials and best practices for digital marketing in the non-profit space.
1. Leverage Social Media
Millennials spend a significant amount of time on social media, making it a key channel for non-profits to reach them. By creating engaging social media content and leveraging influencers, non-profits can connect with millennials and build awareness for their cause–all to drive millennial engagement. Social media allows non-profits to share stories, engage with followers, and create a sense of community around their mission. Show them what your organization does, let them connect with your stories, and include them in your narrative. If millennials are able to see themselves incorporated in your feeds, they’ll feel more connected to your mission.
2. Focus on Impact and Transparency
Millennial donors want to know your organization is making a real impact. Non-profits can build trust with this demographic by being transparent about how funds are being used and sharing stories of real people who have benefited from this support. Before asking for a donation, show millennials how you’ve used gifts in the past. Showcase the impact of donations, by explaining your programs, or profiling a recent success. Demonstrating how your organization works, by giving tangible, relatable examples, will capture the attention and trust to drive millennial engagement.
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3. Use the Art of Storytelling
Millennials respond well to storytelling and are more likely to build affinity when they feel emotionally connected to a cause; in this case, it is better to show AND tell. Non-profits can use storytelling to communicate the impact of their work and build a connection with new communities. Drive millennial engagement by sharing stories of real people and how they have been impacted by the organization’s work. This is an effective way to create an emotional connection and inspire action. It’s also important to share stories of the people who work for your organization as well. Showcasing both the helped and the helpers is a great way to amplify your mission to others.
4. Offer Convenient and Personalized Communications
Millennials value convenience and personalized experiences, so non-profits should offer a variety of communications that reflect those needs. Whether it be emails, events, or volunteer opportunities, the more you can gear individual approaches to millennials, the better the response will be. Also, remember that communication is a two-way street: ask what interests them, what they’d like to learn more about, and what is their preferred method of communication. The more they feel heard, the more millennials will respond in a positive way.
5. Collaborate with Influencers and Partners
Partnering with social media influencers and other organizations can help non-profits reach new audiences and build credibility, which will drive millennial engagement. Collaborating with influencers can help increase visibility and connect with younger audiences who are more likely to be influenced by their peers. Working with other organizations that share the same values and mission can also help to build trust and credibility with potential donors. Sharing networks is a great way to expand your reach and build relationships within new communities.
In addition to these strategies, non-profits should also consider best practices for digital marketing drive millennial engagement. Utilizing video content is key, as millennials are highly visual and prefer video content over other types of media. Non-profits should also leverage social media advertising to reach specific demographics and target their messaging to the right audience. With the majority of millennials accessing the internet through mobile devices, non-profits should ensure their websites and sign-up platforms are optimized for mobile. By keeping these best practices in mind and leveraging the right channels, non-profits can effectively connect with millennials and drive real impact for their causes.
It’s important to note that engaging millennial donors goes beyond simply using the right marketing tactics. Non-profits should also ensure they are transparent about their mission and values, and actively work to build trust and meaningful relationships with donors. By prioritizing the unique characteristics and preferences of millennials, non-profits can create a donor experience that resonates with this demographic and drives long-term engagement and future support.
Ready to make an ask from millennials? Read our companion article, 5 Proven Ways To Get Millennials To Give To Your Charitable Organization. Or, if you’d like a more personalized approach, Clavis can help! Check out Clavis Care or our Nonprofit Marketing page for more information. You can also contact us directly to set up a free consultation!