10 Nonprofit Marketing Strategies to Efficiently Engage Millennials
Social scientists identify several differences between Millennials and other generations. For example, Millennials are less interested in owning cars and houses or starting families than Baby Boomers. However, Millennials also typically have high levels of student debt and may live at home longer than people from other age groups.
All of these characteristics and others about the Millennial generation potentially impact a nonprofit’s ability to get Millennials interested. Even so, there are things you can do to get results.
1. Let Millennials Donate Via Text
A survey published in 2016 found most Millennials prefer to communicate via text messages instead of phone calls. Set up a platform that allows them to give to your organization by texting a code and designated amount to a specific number.
In May, Verizon helped its customers donate to those affected by the volcanic eruptions and flooding in Hawaii by using a text message service to contribute to Child and Family Service, an organization responding to the crises. People could do so in $10 increments up to five times.
2. Focus on Building Relationships
It’s important to realize that Millennials won’t be sources of significant donations—at least not right away. That’s why it’s important to put your energy into building relationships and making your cause matter to Millennials. Then, when they’re more financially stable, they’ll be eager to donate.
You can resonate with Millennials by using story-centric campaigns that help people see that your cause is relevant to them and worth keeping in mind as Millennials progress through life.
For example, you might tell the true tale of a girl from a developing country who received an education as a result of your nonprofit. Most Millennials can relate to how valuable and rewarding it is to learn something new.
3. Show Transparency
Millennials are a socially engaged generation, and they tend to want details about what a nonprofit does and where the money goes if they donate. You can answer many of the most likely questions on a detailed FAQ page that’s part of your website.
The United Way of Central Georgia does that by giving people need-to-know information using plain English. Also, because the page is text-heavy without many graphics, it loads quickly on mobile devices.
4. Offer Remote Volunteering Opportunities
Millennials are typically extremely tech-savvy. With that in mind, consider offering ways for people to volunteer remotely with nothing more than the desire to give back and a reliable Internet connection. In addition, some nonprofit systems allow you to easily manage volunteers online either remotely or on-site.
The American Cancer Society allows people to volunteer online by posting things on social media profiles or emailing messages to state legislators.
5. Spread the Word With Promotional Goodies
People love getting things for free. If your budget allows for it, consider enticing Millennials with freebies to thank them for donating or otherwise getting involved.
This past Memorial Day, the American Red Cross promoted the need to donate blood by giving participants a $5 Amazon gift card and a t-shirt if they gave blood during a defined period.
Statistics show that 67 percent of Millennials shop online, which means the gift card makes sense. Also, the t-shirt strengthens the Red Cross brand.
6. Give Peer-to-Peer Fundraising a Try
Peer-to-peer fundraising requires people to tap into their network of colleagues, friends, church members and so on to encourage those individuals to donate to nonprofits. Get started with this approach by making a social media-friendly graphic for people to share across their social media feeds. It’s even better if it includes a catchy phrase or hashtag.
Research shows that Millennials prize ownership and experiences. Peer-to-peer fundraising addresses both those things by letting people take ownership of something important and treasure the experiences brought about by interacting with their friends in efforts to raise money.
7. Show That You’re Aware of Current Issues
It’ll be extraordinarily difficult for any nonprofit to connect with Millennials if the organization seems out of touch and disconnected with modern times. Look for opportunities to connect your profit and its work to real-world issues. Women’s Aid, a United-Kingdom-based charity supporting domestic violence victims, did that in response to a reality show broadcast.
It involved a show called Love Island and a dialogue between two participants who were in a relationship. During it, the female involved called out her male partner’s behavior as unacceptable, but he merely smirked.
Shortly afterward, Women’s Aid published content on its website addressing the matter and urging people to take a stand against domestic violence, while reminding them that some forms of mistreatment are emotional instead of physical.
8. Publish Shareable Content
Millennials are familiar with social media and its power to distribute content quickly. Whether you’re building general awareness or trying to raise money, consider publishing infographics, short video clips and brief testimonials that people love to share with those they know.
9. Use Emojis Sparingly
Since Millennials love to send text messages, you might think it should work well to fill your nonprofit’s online or marketing content with emojis. This isn’t the case, though. A study found that 59 percent of Millennial respondents felt when businesses overdo it with emojis, it seems they’re trying too hard.
On the other hand, over half of the Millennials who answered that same survey agreed that emojis could bring clarity to text. If you use them, choose familiar ones that aren’t too ambiguous and are genuinely appropriate. For example, when encouraging people to bring the proper gear to a charity walk, you might include an umbrella emoji.
10. Reach Out to Local Businesses About Opportunities for Employee Giving
Many Millennials are on board with the idea of getting involved in a nonprofit with help from their employer. Data reveals that 40 percent of Millennials began supporting charitable causes through their workplaces, and 30 percent made regular donations via their employers.
It’s worthwhile to approach businesses in your area and inquire whether they have philanthropic programs that let employees give back. Your nonprofit might be responsible for starting one or becoming part of something that already exists.
Millennials Require a Specialized Approach
Millennials want to make lasting differences in the world. However, because they are not like the generations that came before them, this demographic group requires strategic approaches to foster engagement. The ideas above can help you successfully grab their interest.
Kayla Matthews writes about AI, the cloud and retail technology. You can also find her work on The Week, WIRED, Digital Trends, MarketingDive and Contently, or check out her personal tech blog.