To recap from Part 1…
Millennials want an easy and immediate way to engage or donate to nonprofits. With traditional methods the Millennial feels there are too many steps. They feel you’re relying on them too much. It’s not because Millennials don’t care. It’s because they and I (yes, I am a Millennial) have grown up where EVERYTHING in our lives is being made easier and accessible right when we want it. To rely on us to remember to go to a website when we get home after a run/walk or after a call-to-action at a concert or sporting event, is asking too much. The tough reality is that remembering to go and donate to a nonprofit at the end of the day will fall to 4th or 5th place behind most other Millennial online activities like Netflix, Hulu, or paying bills…despite their best intentions.
The Case for Mobile: I believe that text is a powerful way for nonprofits to engage Millennials…perhaps it’s the BEST answer because text is THE PRIMARY way Millennials communicate.
To create the lifetime donor and supporter nonprofits are all looking for from this next wave of supporters, we can’t just think about only the donation. We have to 1) ACQUIRE them as supporters, 2) ENGAGE them and do so smartly and then 3) FUNDRAISE. It’s exactly like any relationship. We can’t immediately ask for the moon. We have to introduce ourselves first, get to know the person and once we’ve built that connection then we can ask for something.
Let’s use a 5k walk to support a cure for diabetes as a hypothetical scenario to illustrate this process. Here we will focus on all the supporters of participants. These are the family and friends who come to watch and support, but they leave without donating or engaging with the organization at all.
- Start with a call-to-action. Have your volunteers walk around at the finish line asking people to text VIDEO to 50555 to join and receive a link to a highlight video of the event and to hear more about everything the organization is doing to help. Most supporters will have their phones on them and it only takes a few seconds. And who wouldn’t want a highlight clip to remember the day?
- They get a response that says, “Thanks! Click to view highlights from today’s event: mgv.cc/t4d89 XYZ Fdn Alerts. Up to 4msgs/mo. Info? Txt Help. Txt STOP to end. Msg&Data Rates May Apply”
- Simple, basic, and provides exactly what they expected.
- When supporters text in, you’ve just acquired a mobile supporter! There’s a good chance it’s a Millennial. And, it’s one that’s immediately added into your database.
- Keep up with the momentum! Within 24 hours it’s great to remind them about your organization. Let’s send a text saying “Thanks again for your support of the XYZ Foundation! Click here for a video message from our Executive Director: mgv.cc/1xf56”
- Since we want to know more about our members and what they need and want, we want to send a message out in a timely fashion, say about a week following the last message. This time ask something like “You're important to the XYZ Foundation and we want to provide you the most relevant info. Click here to tell us more: mgv.cc/s3d5y”
- To intelligently communicate we have to segment our data. Let’s ask them more directly what they want to hear. Maybe through an outbound data collection text message. For example: "XYZ Foundation wants to know what you want to hear about. Reply A for Upcoming Events, B for Success Stories or C for Ways to Donate"
The more we segment our messaging the more likely they are to donate when we ask them.
Let’s pause here and talk about what we did by asking them what they want to learn about the organization. We created a two-way conversation. The supporter feels like they’ve been heard and that your organization cares about them enough to ask. It’s a completely different ballgame now.
- If we’ve done a good job at segmenting our messaging, we’ve got several groups of engaged supporters. We’ve heard them and have tailored our message to what they care about.
- Now when we ask for a donation they are that much more willing to make it. For example: “Thanks so much for supporting the XYZ Foundation. Your $10 gift will supply insulin to 3 people. Reply KEYWORD to make your donation today! Or, “Thanks for making a monthly donation to the XYZ Foundation. Reply with YES to confirm your $10 donation. Reply HELP for help. Msg&DataRatesMayApply"
If nonprofits have made it easy to take action, been strategic about how they communicate with them, and segment their communication, then supporters (especially Millennials) are that much more willing to make a donation because they feel like they matter and that their $10 does make a difference.
Millennials care and want to feel they’ve made a difference. Providing a simple, streamlined method to be connected and donate will help your organization bridge that gap!