When you hear the term “Millennials,” what’s the first word that comes to mind?
Tech-savvy? Innovative? Entrepreneurial? Community-driven? Adventurous? Or maybe… Entitled? Hypocritical? Arrogant? Lazy? Impatient?
There’s a diverse bag of words and images that make up society’s perception of the millennial generation. In turn, it affects how nonprofit fundraisers approach targeting, communicating with and retaining millennial donors.
As millennial giving continues to rise, this generation will eventually become an essential donor base in philanthropy and nonprofit fundraising. Now is the time to understand who millennials are and what they truly need.
Over the course of many months, the BDI Millennial Team has worked together to crack this code. After assessing outside philanthropic research, analyzing industry trends and conducting internal studies, we discovered important insights that reformed our perceptions of the millennial donor and unveiled new ways to connect with their giving patterns.
As we approach a new normal of digital giving and online connectivity, I’m excited to share 3 key elements that will drive your organization’s millennial donors to donate more often and rally behind your cause.
1. Millennials need to know your intentions.
Even though trust is a necessary building block in any donor relationship, it’s especially important to millennials. Studies show that these donors want to support passionate, ethical organizations that are very transparent about how they use donor dollars.
In fact, over 90% of millennial donors say they would stop giving if they didn’t trust an organization.
How do you earn their trust? Through transparency, authenticity and open communication about your organization’s specific desire to help others – and change the world!
Interweave your fundraising asks with messaging about the goals, needs and dreams of your organization. Have an explanation of how you are using your donor dollars and make sure to be intentional about communicating with transparency.
2. Millennials need to feel valued.
With the explosion of online and digital engagement, millennial donors are constantly being inundated with advertisements and fundraising asks. One way to stand out amongst the online noise is to communicate with millennials as valued partners – not just donors – in your work.
According to a study by Mighty Citizen, once millennials interact with your organization, they perceive themselves as an extension of your brand. They’re no longer a bystander, but an active participant and representation of your cause.
So how do you get millennials to feel like a valued partner? Provide them with chances to interact with your cause in a variety of ways: through social media, online or in-person volunteer opportunities and events, and even merchandise sales.
Because studies show that millennials are mainly influenced by the thoughts and actions of their peers, think about innovative ways they can share their generosity and invite their friends to get involved in your cause!
3. Millennials need to be thanked
What better way to show how much you value the generosity and partnership of a millennial than to say thank you? This is good advice for all donors, of course, but here it’s particularly relevant – sending a generic thank you receipt, or not thanking them at all, can be the difference between losing or retaining a millennial donor.
In our internal research, BDI’s Millennial Team found that millennials would allocate 41% of their giving to a local organization because of the need to feel connected, appreciated and affirmed that they’re making an immediate impact in their community and tangibly helping others.
What can you do to personally thank your millennial donors? Find the time to make a phone call, personalize an email or text message, post a public shout-out on social media or even set a time to chat with them during an in-person or virtual event.
As we look ahead to the second half of 2021, I hope these three tips will be helpful in curating your message and intentionally building relationships with your younger donor base. It may take a little time… or maybe reaching out on new media… but meeting and understanding their needs is important to your future success. As a millennial myself, I can attest that every detail matters, and your efforts will make a difference!