Millennials ‘Cause’ Driven Donors - US Report

A new report into the worlds so called ‘Millennial Generation’ - the 20 to 35 year olds - reveals they need compelling and time relevant messages to inspire them towards impulsive sharing and contributing to social causes.

The US 2013 Millennial Impact Report, reveals that Millennials aren’t interested in structures, institutions and organisations, but rather in the people they help and the issues they support.

The report says that the key for Not for Profits then is to build a comprehensive Millennial engagement platform that invites them to participate in the cause and maximise their involvement.

For the 2013 Millennial Impact Report, US Fundraising agency, Achieve gathered information from an online survey distributed to Millennials through 14 Not for Profit research partners, as well as conducted usability testing of nine Not for Profits’ online presence [website, social media pages (Facebook and Twitter), emails, and mobile].

Millennials were defined as anyone born between the years 1979-1994.

“Most NFPs already know the basic pieces they should put in place to capture Millennials: Have an up-to-date, well-designed website. Make it mobile-friendly. Be present on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Follow up with relevant, easy-to-read emails,” the report said.

But the report said these channels are simply that—channels.

“The real draw for Millennials, especially in today’s attention-fragmented media landscape, is a compelling message that inspires them toward impulsive sharing and contributing. Moreover, these messages need to maintain “real time relevance” for Millennials, in that it connects with and pertains to their interests in the moment as well as over time.

“So it’s up to Not for Profits to create the right message that resonates with Millennials, consider what impulse they might have, and then create ways to fulfill it.”

The report says this year’s research provides insight into how organisations can make that happen.

“Regardless of their budget or size, NFP organisations have a tremendous opportunity to start thinking holistically about this rising generation.

"Millennials first support causes they are passionate about (rather than institutions), so it’s up to organisations to inspire them and show them that their support can make a tangible difference on the wider issue.”

According to the 2013 Millennial Impact Report, 73% of Millennials volunteered for a Not for Profit in 2012. Their motivations: More than three quarters said they were passionate about the cause or issue, while 67% felt they could make an impact for a cause they cared about.

“Again, Millennials are supporting the issue rather than the organisation, and this distinction reflects what drives them to move beyond browsing channels and get active. This generation wants to support a cause, help other people, and become part of a community that’s equally excited and eager to make a difference,” the report said.

“Smartphone usage continues to rise, as mobile devices best enable the connectivity and news information gathering from peers,mobile content sources, and organisations that Millennials seek.”

The report said organisations should think “mobile first” and focus on responsive design as well as content, including navigation, context around the organisation’s work, and success stories.

As well it said that it’s imperative that organisations’ websites clearly show their work, demonstrate how potential constituents can help, and offer ways people can get involved.

“Millennials view volunteer opportunities as a way to socially connect with like-minded peers, which moves them beyond technology (social networking) to in-person action.

It’s especially helpful when organisations craft marketing messages that highlight the peer involvement- for example, ‘Join 20 other people like you at Clean-Up Day this Saturday’.”

While Millennials don’t give a lot, the report said they do want to give what they have. One new finding this year is that 52% of respondents said they’d be interested in monthly giving.

“This format offers Not for Profits an opportunity to experiment with soliciting smaller but more regular gifts.”

Another, less cyclical trend in peer fundraising is that Millennials are starting to ask for donations in lieu of gifts for birthdays and other events.

“This trend is worth watching (and capitalising on) as social networks enable and facilitate such giving with greater reach and speed,” the report said.

Other trends include:

  • 60% of millennials likes it most when NFPs shared stories about successful projects and the people they help.
  • 65% receive emails or newsletters from 1 to 5 Not for Profits
  • 75% ‘like’, retweet or share content on social media
  • 46% have donated to a cause online
  • 72% said they were interested in participating in a Not for Profit Young Professional Group.

Download the report here.

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