As someone interested in next generation engagement and bridging the cultural and generational divide, it’s obvious that Millenials are changing the practices and methods of every industry, including philanthropy. At the same time, they are the fastest-growing segment of volunteers and potential donors to nonprofit organizations.
What steps can we, as professionals, implement to encourage and inspire their involvement? How can we attract the Millennial audience – and then hold onto it for years to come?
As we know, Millenials are a much more engaged audience and don’t want to be told what to do or where to give. They want to be invited to the table and have the opportunity to make strategic decisions. They want to be involved in a matter that surpasses their monetary support. The next generation of supporters doesn’t want to simply write a check.
Here are some great ideas on how to reach the next generation
- Engage: Allow them to shape and create the content for you.
- Cultivate: The goal with this group is different, focus less on raising money and more on the long term investment of the younger donors by beginning a long relationship that builds toward larger financial and service commitments.
- Leverage: Use social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, to spread messages peer to peer. Crowdfunding is a great tool that leverages the power of social media for social good. It enables the younger donors to promote the cause and broaden the potential network of supporters. Organizations should focus on using social media before, during, and after every event that involves the younger generation.
- Connect: the next generation of supporters are accustomed to responding instantly to emails and sms campaigns. They much prefer to be involved with opportunities that require minimal buy ins with visible results. Make sure that the impact of their giving can be tracked and felt. This direct involvement will not only connect them on an emotional level, it will also create a sense of organizational integrity that is critical for establishing long-lasting relationships.
- Stay within their means: Fancy galas may not be something younger people are drawn to or can afford to attend, but it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your core donors and eliminate popular social events. Try organizing events that speak to this group and build the pipeline for future givers.
Our role as professionals is to adjust our goals to meet the needs and interests of this extremely powerful and passionate generation by giving them the opportunity to use their time, money and influence to make a difference. We need to navigate their experiences and opportunities for involvement not force it.
How is your organization shaping and inspiring the next generation to get involved?
Mordecai Holtz is an experienced nonprofit professional in the fields of community organization, program development, administration and management for almost 8 years. Mordecai is well versed in social media and enjoys consulting with small businesses and nonprofit organizations to reach their fullest online potential. Follow Mordecai by reading his blog noholtzbarred.com or on twitter@mordecaiholtz