I love the way Millennials engage with the charities that they are passionate about. A lot of nonprofit leaders or fundraisers are more concerned with engaging more mature donors. In general the older we get the more likely we are to have more disposable income, and as a result, make larger average gifts than some of our younger donors may make. On average Millennials do give smaller gifts, however they do tend to have a propensity to help an organization in a variety of ways, and they are very prone to doing a lot of marketing for your charity using their social media networks in a way that some other age cohorts are not as likely to.
For example when studying millennial donors Feldmann et al (2013) found:” Their interactions with nonprofit organizations are likely to be immediate and impulsive. When inspired they will act quickly in a number of ways, from small donations to short volunteer stints, provided that the opportunities are present and the barriers to entry are low (p.3)”. These authors go on to describe (Feldmann, et.al. 2013):” Peer influence plays an important role in motivating Millennials to volunteer, attend events, and participate in programs and give. We have some groups of Millennials supporters who definitely are always looking for different ways to support our organization.
One of these groups Team McAwesome is one of our regular Home for Dinner groups who come in to make Sunday Brunch at least once a month for our families. In essence they are donors, as they buy the groceries to make the brunches, but they are also volunteers as they come in to prepare and serve the meal itself. I am not sure I can remember all the ways the individuals in this group help us. Well let’s try, they have used other groups they belong to –to fundraise for us, they volunteer at our fundraising events or are participants at them. Whenever they make brunch they take photos and promote our cause on their own twitter and instagram feeds. In addition they routinely share, like or re-tweet our organizations own social media posts. Some nonprofit executives fail to focus on this group, as their average donation is smaller than other age cohorts, but to ignore the variety of ways these supporters will help your organization seems unwise.
Even if Millennials can’t give as much as other demographic groups, they nonetheless are willing to raise funds for causes they care about usually by calling on friends and family. (p.3)”. Some of the other findings in this study –we are starting to see in our own fundraising efforts. For example Feldmann, et al (2013) found:” While Millennials don’t give a lot, they do want to give what they have. One new finding this year is that 53% of the respondents said they would be interested in monthly giving. This format offers nonprofits an opportunity to experiment with soliciting smaller but more regular gifts.” Another trend in donor support that we are starting to see more frequently is also described by these authors. “Another, less cyclical trend in peer fundraising is the Millennials are starting to ask for donations in lieu of gifts for birthdays and other events. This trend is worth watching (and capitalizing on) as social networks enable and facilitate such giving with greater reach and speed.”
Supporters in this age group can be triple threats, they raise money for your organization, they volunteer and they market for you using their social network.” Seventy five percent of Millennials like, retweet or share content on social media (Feldmann, et.al)” so if you are able to engage them or enlist them they will be strong and frequent promoters of your cause. However the small nonprofit must continue to be diligent in interacting and engaging these supporters as it is likely that your charity is not the only one they are interested in. In the same study the authors found that 65% of Millennials receive emails or newsletters from one to five nonprofits. Like any donor Millennials must be stewarded and frequently engaged by the organization.
Feldmann, D,.Nixon.J, Brady,J.,Banker-Brainer,L. & Wheeler,L. (2013) The 2013 Millennial
Impact Report, as retrieved from: www.themillennialimpact.com.