Why Nonprofits Should Seek Out Younger Donors
It’s a common tactic for nonprofit organizations to seek out an older donor base in the hopes of soliciting larger gifts. When most people think of millennials and Generation Z, their financial freedom to give doesn’t typically come to mind.
While younger generations may not always have as much money in their pockets, research has shown that they are very interested in giving. Plus, they make up a larger percentage of the population. Millennials alone make up 5% to10% of all donations among charities, while Gen Z relates to social issues the most and is most likely to be moved by a narrative.
So, what can your nonprofit do to market to current and future generations? How can you seek out young donors with relevancy and heart?
Understand the Audience
In many ways, it’s important to market to your audience. If you’re not able to engage with and build a relationship with younger generations now, you’re probably not going to be able to recruit them as donors as they get older.
With that in mind, understanding what younger donors are looking for is an important key in soliciting funds. Some of the basic elements of what they want to see from an organization include:
- A less wasteful process
- A unique approach
Nowadays, audiences want to feel a relationship with the businesses they trust, and nonprofits are no different. Millennials and Gen Zers donated more to actionable causes during the pandemic than other generations, and there’s a reason for that — they wanted to help. They want to be able to lend a helping hand to those in need. If you’re not connecting with them on that level through your organization, they’re less likely to donate.
It’s also important to understand the financial habits of these generations. They both have a growing interest in ethical consumerism but have grown up in a turbulent economy. Therefore, they have a greater amount of debt than previous generations. Sometimes, no matter how much they might want to give, it’s not financially feasible.
Knowing that, it might be time to change your approach.
Raising Funds in an Uncertain Economy
If you’ve been soliciting funds for your nonprofit the same way for years, it’s a perfect time to switch things up. Not only do you need to remain relevant in a changing world, but you need to understand the state of the economy as well as the generations dealing with it.
You might not want to seek out the large lump sum donations you have in the past. Doing so could make you seem a little tone-deaf in today’s economic environment.
Instead, focus on making connections with potential donors. Millennials, especially, have shown great responses when it comes to in-person events, especially since the pandemic. They’re ready to get back out into the world, foster relationships and do what they can to help those in need. That generation is currently leading giving at in-person events, averaging $284 in yearly gifts. While that might not be as large a number as in years past, keep the climate of the economy in mind when establishing your expectations.
If you do nothing else to seek out younger donors, consider hosting more in-person events for your organization. Even if younger generations aren’t able to give as much, they’ll be more likely to give what they can when they feel a personal connection to your nonprofit, and will likely be more willing to volunteer in other ways, as well. Make every event as memorable as possible by introducing strategies like:
- Having a theme
- Showing off what you do and who you are
- Prioritizing communication
- Providing gear or free items with information
In today’s tech-forward world, remember that not all events need to be strictly in-person. Livestream your events and get people involved online, and you’ll build an even bigger audience.
How To Reach Out to Younger Donors
The relationship has to start somewhere. Hosting in-person events is a fantastic way to share your passion for your nonprofit and truly connect with people, but it’s not the only way. Plus, even when you’ve formed a connection, it’s just as essential to keep it going. You have to make it easy for younger people to donate, or they’re less likely to do it.
While there’s no one key factor to boost engagement with younger donors, there are a few strategies that are working for nonprofits across the country, boosting recognition, engagement and funds. Some of the best ways to attract younger donors include:
- Utilizing social media
- Making it easy to accept online donations
- Mobile-responsive websites
- Frequent updates
It’s important for younger donors to have a voice and to feel seen and heard. Consider hiring Gen Zers and millennials in your marketing department to work your social media page or to update your website. They can offer an authentic voice to your organization that makes it easier to reach out to a younger audience.
By taking the time to seek out younger donors now, you’re setting your nonprofit up for greater success and a wider reach in the future. Keep these ideas in mind to foster connections, build relationships and adapt to the spending habits of younger generations.
Related story: The New Donor Frontier: Discover How to Attract Gen Z to Your Nonprofit
Indiana Lee is a writer, reader, and jigsaw puzzle enthusiast from the Pacific Northwest. She is also an expert on business operations, leadership, marketing, and lifestyle.