Position Yourself So Millennials Hear You
Doing good is great. Getting the message is better. Getting others to support you with their time, talent and treasure is critical.
So much has been said about the forthcoming Millennial generation. So much so, that some think the subject overwrought and much ado about nothing.
The naysayers point to the Baby Boomers and the impending transfer of a tremendous level of wealth. And they’re correct. What these folks neglect to mention, however, is that they usually have a vested interest in directing your attention there. Planned giving counselors and vendors. That’s how they get paid. Not that I don’t love planned giving folks. Many of them are lovely people!
Don’t get me wrong; you should be perusing all of your potential investors. But be realistic. If you’ve not already made your move on the Boomers in your fold, chances are they already have formed their allegiances and preferences.
And Millennials will be the majority of the workforce in four years. That’s 48 months. Less time than the term of most car loans these days. That’s when they’ll move into the prime of their philanthropic involvement. So, now is the time to reach out to them.
Millennials do hear differently than the rest of us. It’s a product of who they are. Information always has been available to them. Therefore, they really aren’t interested in storing it. They go and get it when they want it.
What does that do? It translates their communication patterns from longer term to shorter term.
Communicating effectively with Millennials for fundraising then must reflect this change.
In short, messages that are meaningful to, and convert and maintain Millennial donors are:
- Short. Think eight seconds. Yes, eight seconds. This doesn’t mean that you cram everything into a sound bite. It means you take it in very small pieces.
- Repetitive. You’ll be doing it repetitively—as in over and over. If you think you’re repeating yourself too much, double that and you’re probably close to where you should be.
- Multi-sensory. Think all the senses. Yes, all. Get creative. It’s sight, sound, smell and physical sensation. For some this will be easier than for others.
- Frequent. Be very, very frequent. Daily, even multiple times per day isn’t overdoing it. That doesn’t mean multiple emails. It means multiple channels.
- Honest. Be honest. This is the most important one. It’s essential, in fact. Paraphrasing St. Paul, avoid even the appearance of evil. For Millennials, even a hint of less than total openness is enough to smell.
Nonprofits, although not usually patently dishonest or misleading, are notorious in not owning everything—the good, the bad and ugly. Those who have embraced their failures, as well as their successes, in an honest and open way, such as Splash, the water charity, have seen their support from Millennnials skyrocket.
Principle 6 of The Eight Principles™ is "Divide & Grow™." Simply, that’s treat different donors differently. Millennials aren’t driving your father’s Model T; so don’t offer it to them.
Success is waiting. It’s yours if you want it. Do you?
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
Reach Larry on social media at: