5 Things Nonprofits Must Do To Captivate Millennials

By Rachael Seda (@rachaelseda)

I have a short attention span, but I rock at multitasking. I may get bored easy but if you capture my attention, I could become your number one advocate. Please just cut to the chase, there’s no need for lengthy instructions; to me a picture’s worth a thousand words. At about 80 million strong, by 2017 these Americans, born between 1980-2000, will have more spending power than any other generation before us. You call me a millennial, but I prefer Rachael.

Image: NoJo Photo URL via Flickr, CC 2.0

Most of you already understand that in order for your organization to be successful, you need to captivate the millennial audience. Unfortunately, my generation isn’t as easy to fool. It’s hard to find us and it’s even harder to keep us.

The good news? Millennials are generous and we care about giving back. In fact a 2010 survey found that 93% of millennials said they gave to a cause.

What does this mean for non-profits? If you figure out the secret sauce to reaching us now, not only will you execute better fundraising campaigns, but you increase your chances of creating lifelong donors.

Here are 5 things you need to start doing if you want to captivate my fellow millennials:

1. Show Us You’re Tech Savvy

I hope this is a given, but if you’re avoiding social media and technology, you need to come out from under your shell ASAP. Go experiment personally. But please act like a human. And if you really want to understand millennials, you have to learn how to use a smart phone. We don’t know what life is without an iPhone in our hand, and of the 34 percent of us who make direct donations to causes, almost half donate using their mobile device. If you find us where we are, make it easy to give, and are genuine, we may just respond in your favor.

2.  KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

We don’t love Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest for no reason. The more simple and to the point you are, the more likely it is you haven’t lost our attention to the screaming zombies on The Walking Dead. Make sure you have a clear call-to-action and a simple message. Trust me it works. Oxfam America’s International Women’s Day campaign is a perfect example of this.

3.  Move Fast and Hit Hard

Millennials can send a picture of you sneezing to everyone they know (and don’t know) quicker than you can say “Excuse me.” While we care about causes and giving back, we’re also accustomed to receiving information immediately. If you design a cause marketing campaign that is relevant, has a direct call-to-action, allows us to watch the impact occur in real time, and your responsive, we’ll be all over it!

4.  Trigger Our Emotions

Think about what we care about. Hit our emotions. We grew up with recycling engrained in us to the point where we feel guilty throwing a can in the dumpster. If you appeal to our emotions and create something shareable, we’ve been known to do your marketing for you.

5.  Get Us Involved

We don’t just want to give away our money we want to feel like we’re part of the solution.  How can you make your campaign interactive? How can you create “champions” for your cause?  If you make it important to us, and make us feel involved in helping a worthy cause, we will get involved. A great example of a campaign that’s bound to capture millennials is the Pinterest-based campaign “Pinning for Pets” launched by our client BISSELL . If you give us millennials the opportunity to get involved and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Moral of the Story?

We’re an ambitious and compassionate group, undoubtedly shaped by the worst economic recession since the Great Depression and disasters such as 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina. The result? A socially-conscious generation amplified by technology. Why not join us?

What other tips do you have to help non-profits reach millennials?

The full version of this post originally appeared on Razoo’s Inspiring Generosity blog.


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