Magnificent Millennials: Changing the World
I attended the Peer-to-Peer Forum in Atlanta last week. Per usual, there was a lot of buzz and conversation about how to engage millennials. I asked Vickie Lobello, Turnkey’s lead strategist, to share her thoughts about how and why to work with this group.
I am a seasoned veteran of peer-to peer-fundraising of 30 years with American Cancer Society Relay For Life and St. Baldrick’s Foundation. During my career, I have worked at an executive leadership level and in the field.
I am have also had the opportunity to work with millennials in both staff and volunteer capacities. Additionally, I am a parent of two children who are firmly in this age group.
If you Google the word “millennial,” you’ll find articles, blog posts and studies that leave the impression that this massive class of 20-somethings and 30-somethings is narcissistic, entitled and lazy.
I know this group is going to change the nonprofit world in incredible ways. Their enthusiasm and capabilities are significantly different than the generations that came before them, and they are motivated to make the world a better place.
Here are five reasons to work with millennials:
1. Millennials volunteer. In addition, they want to make a difference. Eighty-eight percent of millennial females and 82 percent of millennial males reported that it’s important to be engaged in work that gives back to the community. Consider that this generation values their time as equal to money. If you have millennial volunteers, know that they consider your nonprofit to be of value and worth their time. Those without the means to donate financially also appreciate the opportunity to give through volunteerism, so be sure that your nonprofit gives millennials the chance to do so. These statistics are verified in both a report done by Salesforce and the 2015 Millennial Impact Report.
2. Most millennials donate. It’s easy to overlook millennials as donors because they don’t contribute as much financially as baby boomers and even generation X do today. Slightly over half of millennials (52 percent) donated to a cause affiliated with a social issue in the past month. Additionally, millennials are more likely to increase their giving year-over-year compared with other age groups.
3. Millennials' priorities, in many areas, match those of nonprofits.
4. Millennials get involved in philanthropic causes because they are motivated by service. High-school seniors today are more likely than their predecessors to state that they want to contribute to society.
5. Millennials are spearheading the use of social media for civic engagement, which is reshaping the definition of “community” altogether. Millennials not only use social media to connect people to people, but to connect people to ideas, causes and brands.
Katrina VanHuss is the CEO of Turnkey, a U.S.-based strategy and execution firm for nonprofit fundraising campaigns. Katrina has been instilling passion in volunteer fundraisers since 1989 when she founded the company. Turnkey’s clients include most of the top thirty U.S. peer-to-peer campaigns — Susan G. Komen, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the ALS Association, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as well as some international organizations, like UNICEF.
Otis Fulton is a psychologist who joined Turnkey in 2013 as its consumer behavior expert. He works with clients to apply psychological principles to fundraising. He is a much-sought-after copywriter for nonprofit messaging. He has written campaigns for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, The March of Dimes, the USO and dozens of other organizations.
Now as a married couple, Katrina and Otis almost never stop talking about fundraising, volunteerism, and human decision-making – much to the chagrin of most dinner companions.
Katrina and Otis present regularly at clients’ national conferences, as well as at BBCon, NonProfit Pro P2P, Peer to Peer Forum, and others. They write a weekly column for NonProfit PRO and are the co-authors of the 2017 book, "Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising." They live in Richmond, Virginia, USA.