How to Engage Young Philanthropists



Millennials approach things differently than previous generations. From the way they work to the way they communicate, Millennials have developed unique ways of engaging with the world. It’s not surprising then that this generation also has a unique way of approaching philanthropy.
According to The Millennial Impact Report 2012, Millennials (defined as 20- 35-year-olds) are eager to be taken seriously as future volunteers, donors and leaders for causes they care about. They are giving and volunteering, and they have high expectations. So to successfully engage this group of young people, non-profits may need to revisit their current approach.
Here are a few tips for how to effectively engage this group of eager young philanthropists:
  • Reach them where they are. To get the attention of this fast-paced group, nonprofits need to reach Millenials where they are—online, mobile, social and multi-channeled. The report found that 77% of Millennials surveyed had smartphones and 79% of those smartphone owners have in some way connected with a nonprofit via their phone. 67% have interacted with a nonprofit on Facebook and 65% prefer to learn about a charity via their website. Interestingly, they do not want to be reached via text, a mode they report is reserved for personal correspondence.
  • Make it quick and easy. When Millennials visit a nonprofit's website, the first thing 88% of them do is go to the page that describes the organization’s mission. A professional website, purposeful and concise mission statement, simple navigation, clear call to action and photos that tell a story are all key to engaging this group.
  • Give them options. This is the generation of personalized and customized everything. They need a multitude of options for how to volunteer, from one-time hands-on experiences to long-term commitments utilizing professional skills. 48% want to use their educational background, and 40% want to volunteer with friends and family. They also need options for how to make financial donations: In 2011, for example, 70% of Millennials surveyed made their donations online, 39% did so in person, and 34% opted to donate by mail.
  • Show them the payoff. Millennials need to be inspired. They like to give “in the moment,” and they need to know their gift of time, talents, or tangibles will have an impact. They are also interested in seeing the direct results of their giving. TOMS shoes is an excellent example of the type of charitable venture that resonates with Millennials. For each pair of shoes purchased, one pair is donated to a child in need—“One for One.” Simple. Clear. Concise. Impactful. TOMS does an excellent job of sharing videos and photos of children in need receiving the shoes, and encourages it’s supporters to spread the word.
  • Let Millennials market for you. If there’s one thing Millennials do well it’s share information, from YouTube videos to noteworthy news stories. When a Millennial is inspired, the first thing they do is pass it on to friends and family, ultimately acting as fundraisers for a charitable organization.The survey also showed that they are most likely to help raise money by spreading the word or promoting a fundraising event, such as a run or a walk event, and they usually rely on friends, family, and coworkers to support their cause.