Earlier this year, Archive and JCA published the 2012 Millennial Impact Report which, in part, analyzed the connections non-profits are making now with young people ages 20-35 and made recommendations on how to best retain these relationships in an effort to help shape the next generation of donors.
Defined as those born between 1979 and 2001, the millennial generation is the most analyzed, most marketed to, and most intriguing generation to date. They see themselves as friendly, open-minded, intelligent young adults who are responsible and well informed about life and social issues. Unlike many perceptions of the generation that preceded them, this group is very eager to be taken seriously as volunteers and donors and often have high expectations for the institutions and causes to which they are giving their time and dollars.
As savvy early adopters of technology, this group overwhelmingly prefers to donate to charitable causes electronically; however, they are quick to criticize any group they feel did not give them an appropriate “human touch” as well. For this reason, many non-profits are struggling with these contradictions as they begin to build social media and other programs to engage these future major gift donors.
Initially, most thought that social media would simply be a new way to just ask for money. However, as time has passed, it has become more apparent that this media is not the tool to immediately get the dollar, but the tool to solidify the partnership with those who have already given or with those who are considering giving. Remember, this is a generation that is used to instant gratification, so use your Facebook and other applications to create small campaigns or projects with easily attainable goals. That said, be transparent about your results, show status updates that are key to the project, and never be afraid to ask your reader to share your message and their participation in your program with their friends. Studies now show that these simple steps are retaining more donors than wide, open-ended social media approaches.
Finally, while all these facts about millennials separate them from the previous generations, when it comes to fundraising, relationship building is still the ultimate key to your success now and for a sustainable program in the future. Follow this rule and get an early start on fostering these relationships, both in person and online, and success will follow.