Connecting Millennials to Your Nonprofit

millennials volunteering

Despite Time magazine calling Millennials, “the Me Me Me generation,” statistics show that they are actually the “Give Give Give” generation.

According to the 2013 Millennial Impact Research Report published by the Case Foundation, 83 percent of Millennials made a donation to a charitable organization and 73 percent volunteered at a non-profit in 2012.  With Millennials outnumbering Baby Boomers, and expected to have the most spending power of any generation by 2017, they are an integral donor base to the nonprofit industry.  With that in mind, here are three ways your 501c3 nonprofit organization can increase your Millennial donor or volunteer base.

1. Have an Established Online Presence

Millennials expect your non-profit organization to have a website.  This is where most Millennials go to learn more about your organization.  Almost 88 percent of Millennials will first visit the “About Us” section to learn about an organization’s mission and what it does before going to any other page on the website.  They also expect the organization to keep the website as up-to-date as possible.  Without an established online presence, it will be very difficult for Millennials to find your organization, let alone donate to it.

First thing to do is to establish a website if you don’t already have one.  Make sure your “About” page illustrates the mission of your organization.  Also, make sure the design and layout of the website is visually appealing.  Once the website is established, it may seem that the hard part is over; But it’s crucial you update the website frequently and that may take a good portion of your time.  You may need to hire a digital marketing specialist to assist you in establishing and updating your website.

Millennials Impact Infographic

2. Use Social Media to Further your Cause, Not Sell Your Organization

Don’t use social media to talk about why your organization is so great, use it to show the impact your donors have on your cause.  Post inspiring stories and images of people who have benefited from your services and donations.  Share an infographic consisting of facts on why your cause is important for society to care about.  A Millennial is more likely to share your post to their hundreds of followers if it contains a picture and an inspiring message, therefore increasing brand awareness of your organization.

An excellent example of displaying your organization’s impact on social media is this video from Grandma’s House of Hope, a non-profit based in Santa Ana, CA that provides housing to women and children in extreme poverty, as well as victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and life-threatening illnesses.  This video tells the story of Denise, who was diagnosed with cancer and didn’t have a stable place to live until she found Grandma’s House of Hope.  She describes the impact of staying at Grandma’s House of Hope as “this is keeping me alive.”

3. Encourage Peer Fundraising

Millennials might not have as much money to donate compared to the Baby Boomers, however they love getting involved with peer fundraising.  Peer fundraising is when one person encourages their friends, family, co-workers etc. to raise funds on their behalf.  An example would be a college student participating in a dance marathon that raises money for a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.  That student most likely asked their family and friends to help them donate money on their behalf for that Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.  Peer fundraising is wildly popular with Millennials because it allows them to donate to a cause with people they care about.

Peer Fundraising InfographicYou don’t have to organize a whole dance marathon to encourage peer fundraising.  Other manageable forms of peer fundraising include:

  • Develop a campaign to encourage people to donate to your organization in addition to or in lieu of gifts for a birthday, graduation, wedding shower, or baby shower.
  • Reach out to student organizations at your local college and inform the organization of potential fundraising opportunities that are available within your nonprofit or through jointly organizing a fundraising event at their school.  This is a good way for getting both your nonprofit’s name and the student organization’s name out there.

Sure, Millennials might not be ready to take out a checkbook and give you a large sum of money right then and there just yet, but don’t sleep on them.  Their passion for giving and volunteering for causes they care about is, and will continue to be, a big asset for your organization.  Get a Millennial hooked to your cause now, and they will become a donor, volunteer, and brand ambassador for life.

Suggested Reading

  • About.com | Report Confirms Why Millennials Are Crucial to Future of Nonprofits
  • Nonprofit Hub | Understanding What Motivates Millennials to Give to Your NPO

Images via and via

Danielle Sumislaski

Danielle is a Marketing and MIS student at the Fox School of Business at Temple University. She is currently a Marketing Intern for both YOakleyPR and Subaru of America. She has previous Marketing experience in the sports, non-profit, and risk management industries.

More Posts