Today, 76.2 million millennials live in the U.S. and 84 percent of them contribute to charities, more than other generations. Millennials give an average of $481 annually. Based on that, millennial fundraising totals more than $30 billion.
That’s a huge opportunity! For non-profit organizations to succeed in millennial fundraising, they must have a sound and highly-targeted strategy.
Millennials will also be the largest segment of the American workforce this year. In the same ways that they are changing the workforce, they are also changing the game for philanthropy.
This particular generation is inundated with messages daily from their phones and social media channels. The causes they could potentially get behind are both fruitful and vast and non-profits need to know how to engage with millennials, who often have different giving criteria than prior generations.
Because people tend to become more generous over time as their income increases, millennials have the potential to be the most giving generation to date. So what is their motivation?
Many say that the typical millennial is selfish, arrogant and lazy but this is not founded. The Better Business Bureau’s Give.org found that 60 percent of millennials are likely to give to causes for disaster relief for instances such as Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria over the last few years.
Millennials want to give back to their community and to the world, and non-profits should be taking advantage of that. While many take millennials as those who only care about renting rather than owning and purchasing $7 cold brews, this does not tell the entire story. The key is understanding why millennials give and how to meet their standards.
Here are some truths about millennials about how and why they give:
- Millennials like to give through online and social channels. Online channels like GoFundMe are second nature and offer a level of comfort for this generation. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, 75 percent of millennials have used a mobile phone to look up information about a cause. Plus, millennials value easy, quick transactions, so ensure that all giving opportunities are user-friendly and simple.
- They want to share what they are giving. Millennials value their philanthropy and want to share who or what they are supporting. They also want to interact with their causes online via Twitter or other social media channels and invite friends (or followers) to join in.
- Millennials care about the greater good. They are passionate about marginalized and disadvantaged groups. Additionally, they are not limited to their own perspective and want to help with issues outside of their scope.
- They care about what their co-workers are doing. Millennials are more likely to donate if their co-workers encourage them. studies show that 46 percent of employees say they will donate if the people they work with ask and 21 percent say they will donate to a cause that their CEO also supports. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 94 percent of millennials want to use their skills to benefit a cause and 57 percent wish their jobs offered more company-sponsored service days.
- Results are important. Millennials like to see where their donations are going and what impact is being made. This generation differs from the previous one who may have donated to the same cause for decades. They are driven by results and tend to give more (or again) when the results are clear.
- Peers matter. Friends’ recommendations are important. Millennials value the opinions of their friends more than experts or large organizations. Therefore, influencer campaigns and non-profit brand ambassador programs can be powerful in expanding your donor base.
- Familiarity makes an impact. Out of the millions of millennials who give, 60 percent donate to brands they have a connection to. They like to feel like a part of something. So if the organization has a credible and authentic story millennial donors are more likely to give. Millennials also have a tendency to review blogs to find a connection. In fact, 33 percent rely on blogs to form an opinion of a company and 43 percent of millennials rank authenticity over content.
- This population can donate their time. Some millennials are fairly early on in their careers, which means they do not have a lot of cash flow. However, they still would like to give and they do so by donating their time. Millennials see time as money and 70 percent of them have volunteered their time to a cause they care about.
- Millennials are driven by social impact. They want to know they are making a difference — whether it be big or small. A survey by RetailMeNot found that 74 percent of millennials say more brands should take a public stand on important social values.
- They want gratification. Millennials are big advocates of instant gratification. In a recent survey of 3,000 millennials, 45 percent say technology has made them more impatient. That is why crowdfunding sites that set specific goals effective. With their donation, they can see the progress toward the goal.
Millennials are a large, integral, and potentially generous population in fundraising efforts, so non-profits need to understand and connect with this group. Embrace their values and behaviors. Be authentic and communicate your purpose through the media they consume. Show the value and millennials will show the return.