Insights to Power Social Good

Where Is The Next Wave of Supporters and How Can Nonprofits Engage Them? Part 1 of 2

Posted by Grant Flores on Apr 13, 2015 1:38:00 PM

Let me start by saying I’m your typical Millennial. Let me also say that I absolutely love nonprofits.  Really.  I talk with them every single day and these are people who don’t just donate money, or a day or two of their time a year.  They dedicate their whole life to helping others.  They’re hard working people who care deeply.  They know every dollar counts; and executive directors and board members have to justify how those dollars are spent.  It’s not easy.  I don’t envy their job, but I sure do respect them for it. I’m 35 – and so technically I’m between a Millennial and a Generation X’er.  I have traits of both however I think I lean slightly more Millennial than Xer.  I use social media, text, and am more connected than ever before.  But, I also remember a time when I wasn’t staring at my phone like I want to dive into it.  I’ve even put myself in Facebook timeout before. 

Here’s what I hear from every organization large and small and from every vertical under the sun:   their primary donors (the ones who write the checks, aren’t going to be around forever); and they have no idea where their younger donors, the Millennials, are…much less how they’re going to replace the lost revenue.

So, what’s the reason Millennials aren’t engaging?  The answer is a no brainer - "We (Millenials) need something simple, easy and immediate."

Think about this.  Millennials have grown up entirely in a world where every company is competing to make it easier to use their product.  It’s an obsession.  Downloading an app takes one minute.  Finding the answer to a question is as easy as starting a google search…or just asking Siri.  Apple is coming out with an easier way to pay than using credit cards.  Apparently we’re at a point that using credit cards is too difficult.  Even the post office is starting to offer online and pick up services so you don’t have to walk in.  So, if a nonprofit wants to have a chance at engaging Millennials, they first have to make it as easy as humanly possible to engage. 

Okay, so now we know it has to be easy.  The second part is that it has to be immediate - not when they get home from the game or at the end of the day.  You have to grab them right when you have their attention.  Everyone’s attention span is getting shorter, not just the Millennials.  However, it’s especially true for Millennials.  Asking a supporter to go to your website at the end of the day will put you in the 5th or 6th spot of to-do items…right after things like YouTube, Netflix, research, paying bills, or planning the weekend.  Asking a Millennial to enter their credit card information at a basketball game, or at the end of a race is wishful thinking.  We groan when we have to enter a credit card when we order a pizza!  Believe me when I say entering credit card information at the end of a race is a huge stretch.  So, offering an easy way to engage right when you have their attention is crucial.

Millennials are out there.  We do care, and we want to help.  We just need the easiest way to do so and right when you have our attention.  Because, anything less than that is just making it harder and won’t help us find your organization.

Click here for Part 2. And find out some tools for immediate engagement that can attract Millennials.     


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