Millennials (typically defined as the generation born between 1981 and 1996) are the future of your nonprofit. As the largest living generation by population size with 72.1 million people in the U.S., Millennials are a diverse group of people who tend to strongly support social good causes.
Whether you’re seeking to connect with alumni donors or start cultivating relationships with long-term supporters, the time to begin engaging Millennials is now. We’re going to review the five things you need to know about Millennial donors to connect with them effectively. Millennials tend to be:
- Socially conscious
- Brand loyal
- Socially driven
By understanding this generation’s unique blend of aspirations, backgrounds, and interests, you can create relevant messaging and social media engagement strategies that result in increased support for your mission.
At the end of this post, we’ll explore a few strategies for learning more about and connecting with your unique Millennial donor pool. You’ll be able to inform your overarching fundraising strategy with targeted insights into this important generation. Let’s take a closer look at each Millennial tendency.
1. Millennials tend to be socially conscious
Along with their younger Gen Z counterparts, Millennials are the most ethnically and racially diverse population in the U.S. Many of them embrace differences and are open-minded when it comes to social issues. For example, Millennials are much more likely than older adults to support same-sex marriage, with 74% voicing approval.
Millennials also tend to be highly environmentally conscious, with 33% identifying climate change as their top personal concern. They prioritize sustainability and support policies and efforts that address the negative impacts of climate change.
Keep your focus on your mission in your messaging. Don’t place your organization at the center of your story — centralize the individuals impacted by your mission. When you make your values clear, you appeal to Millennials’ desire to support organizations that reflect their values.
2. Millennials are brand loyal
Millennials see brands as an extension of themselves. Quality and value drive their purchasing decisions. Brands that share their social consciousness and have well-communicated charitable missions tend to be favored by Millennials.
In general, Millennials throw their monetary support behind organizations that emphasize leaving a positive societal impact. They tend to shop with businesses that prioritize corporate social responsibility and share their values. 81% of millennials expect companies to commit to good corporate citizenship.
Show Millennials how your nonprofit makes an impact by sharing statistics and reports that highlight your progress. And, make sure you express loyalty and interest in your supporters to earn that same loyalty back from them. Thank them for their contributions and make an effort to get to know them through your communications with them.
3. Millennials tend to be tech-savvy
As true digital natives, this age group has been shaped by the ability to connect quickly and easily. They are heavy users of wireless devices and have become early adopters of new technology and applications.
Millennials rely on technology to create social connections, checking their smartphones an average of 150 times a day. They tend to dismiss organizations that don’t have a social media presence.
Millennials can also be found on popular social media sites like TikTok. Although the platform is dominated by Gen Z, about 39% of Millennials are present on the app. They’ve embraced social media platforms as outlets for creative expression.
Your fundraising and marketing efforts must be mobile-friendly to appeal to Millennial supporters. Ensure your online donation form is streamlined and mobile-responsive to make mobile giving a breeze. In addition, make sure your emails, social media posts, and website can be viewed on mobile devices without any formatting issues.
Further, don’t be afraid to test out new marketing strategies on social sharing apps like TikTok or Instagram. Keep an eye out for trends to make your content relevant and relatable.
4. Millennials are very digitally-connected
Millennials are heavily influenced by their peers and social networks. They seek online content and actively share what they like. They turn to social reviews when making shopping decisions more than any other age group.
Your organization can take advantage of social media’s quick ability to engage this group and keep the conversation going.
Invite your Millennial donors to participate in two-way conversations. Utilize social share buttons and make sure you’ve developed meaningful content, not just promotions.
Also, engage in social fundraising trends like Facebook Challenges and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. These initiatives allow Millennials to share the causes they’re passionate about with their family members and friends. You might even be able to earn more supporters through peer-to-peer and word-of-mouth marketing.
5. Millennials tend to be adventurous
As the generation that travels the most, Millennials value experiences more than physical possessions. They crave new flavors, cuisines, and cultures.
Millennials seek outside-the-box, unique experiences that they can enjoy with loved ones and document on their social media profiles.
Portray action, excitement, and togetherness in your organization’s communications to Millennials. Highlight your unique opportunities to volunteer and participate in special events.
For instance, invite your Millennial supporters to compete in an exciting peer-to-peer social media challenge. Or, encourage these supporters to participate in your social volunteer opportunities that conclude with happy hour at a brewery or local restaurant.
How to Learn More About Your Unique Donor Pool
Of course, not all Millennials are identical — we’ve simply highlighted a few overarching trends and tendencies to allow you to start thinking about how to best engage with your Millennial audience. Your organization’s Millennial supporters will probably exhibit many of these traits, but also be slightly distinctive in their motivations and preferences.
To help you effectively engage with your unique supporter base, follow these steps to learn more about your Millennial supporters:
- Perform data research. Use your nonprofit CRM, along with third-party data from external sources as needed, to conduct data research. According to AccuData’s data marketing guide, data research allows you to make marketing decisions based on hard facts, rather than gut feelings. With data research, you can glean insight into your unique Millennial supporters, from their interests to their communication preferences and more.
- Work with a fundraising consultant. This may be your first attempt at conducting audience research. If that’s the case, it may be worthwhile to partner with a nonprofit consultant. These professionals can help you identify who your Millennial supporters are, what appeals to them, and the best ways of communicating with them.
- Conduct A/B testing. A/B testing is the process of creating two different versions of a marketing message and determining which is more engaging for your target audience. You can use this technique on everything from email campaigns to social media posts. Remember, make sure to only change one element at a time to understand which changes actually had an impact.
- Create supporter surveys. Often, the most effective way to learn more about your Millennial supporters is to go right to the source and ask them about themselves. Create supporter surveys asking audience members about what drew them to your organization, which projects or programs they are most interested in, and any ideas they have for creative or exciting fundraising or volunteer opportunities that would engage them.
As you craft your organization’s strategic plan, choose your fundraising and marketing initiatives based on this information-gathering process. This will ensure you’re prioritizing engagement with what is likely your largest audience demographic (or soon to be).
Remember that it’s important to reach Millennials where they are. In general, Millennials want to lend their knowledge and experience as well as their time to support worthy causes. By understanding these five key traits, your organization will be much more effective in garnering support and donations from Millennials.