As many of you know, millennials are quickly becoming one of the most coveted groups in the fundraising community!
But why is this demographic so important to fundraising?
According to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report, a whopping 84% of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014. There is immense value in acquiring donors early (at the millennial age) and building a relationship in order to create lasting value for your organization.
While capturing millennial donors will surely help your nonprofit organization, many NPOs and fundraisers struggle to acquire and retain these donors.
That’s where I can help!
My background? I am a millennial with strong ties to the Boston fundraising community. Most recently, I have spent the past two years organizing a fundraiser geared completely to millennial donors. In our first year, we attracted 850 guests and raised over $65,000 for the prestigious Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
In our second year, we raised $108,000 from over 1,000 Boston-area millennials and young professionals.
Learning from this experience, I’ve put together a list of my four best tips for acquiring and retaining millennial donors. Enjoy!
#1 — Get Personal
Our first tip is to get personal with your potential donors – tell the story of your cause and how it personally relates to your experience.
While inclined to donate, millennials are seeking stories they can identify with. Affinity in values and social responsibility are extremely important for this group,whether it’s the restaurants where they eat, the stores where they shop or even the organizations they support.
Conveying your story in a meaningful way will get you in the door with millennials, and the rest will be history!
#2 — Utilize Technology
One thing that we can all agree on is that millennials are very connected.
Whether we are checking our iPhones every 30 seconds, or sneaking a look at our Facebook news feed during a conference call, we millennials have the means to find and share any information instantly.
And fundraisers / nonprofits should be using this to their advantage!
In today’s world, millennials are willing to donate to charitable causes, but want to do so on their terms, which means embracing easy-to-use and accessible donation tools.
These can be anything from donation pages to mobile silent auctions and raffles and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.
Regardless of the tools you decide to help you move forward, embracing technology will allow you to offer millennials a much easier channel for them to donate anytime they’d like.
#3 — Embrace FOMO
Our next tip is for your organization to embrace one of the strongest emotions felt among millennials – THE FEAR OF MISSING OUT (aka “FOMO”). When used with online and social fundraising methods, FOMO can become one of your best tools for millennial acquisition.
The key here is to hold your donors socially accountable. Did your supporters just buy tickets to your next fundraising event? Has one of your donors just made a donation to support your cause? Provide them a means to share this to their social network!
When your donors share updates about your cause, they will be helping you acquire new donors, as these potential supporters will witness all of the passion and excitement around supporting your cause.
#4 — Show Your Appreciation (with a twist!)
Traditional methods of thanking your millennial donors work great, but your thank-yous are even more effective when you can add a twist!
One of our favorite examples of unique acknowledgements for millennials is Creating a Sizzle Reel.
Did you just wrap up a great fundraising event or have your best year ever in terms of donations? Spend some resources to create a great video or “sizzle reel” to share with your audience. An exciting video will stand out against the hundreds of emails your audience receives each day, and it’s also a great piece of content for your donors to share out to their networks!
Written by Zach Hagopian
Zach is the co-founder and COO of Accelevents, a mobile fundraising platform that enhances silent auctions and raffles through online and text-message bidding. An active member in the Boston fundraising scene, Zach focuses on improving traditional fundraising methods and increasing fundraiser proceeds.