They are powerful connectors, powerful volunteers and sometimes even powerful donors. So says a recent study by research group, JGA Associates, in their third annual report on Millennials, titled the Millennial Impact Report. While I generally subscribe to Mark Twain’s perspective there are “liars, damn liars and statisticians”, there is useful information in this report.
This population group is loosely defined as between the ages of 20 and 34. Survey respondents (and here’s where it’s important not to make the leap to the population as a whole) were overwhelmingly college educated (95% of the 6,522 who answered the survey). Obviously this statistic doesn’t match the overall US population for this age group – nonetheless since the objective of the study was to learn about those within this age group who participate in or follow nonprofits, it’s interesting directional information.
So what are some of the key learnings from the study? Here’s what I take from it:
- Make sure you have a solid online presence with a strategy, including:
- Website – it’s got to be easy to navigate – on a smartphone! – because 65% of millennials learn more about nonprofits by going to the website (and they look at mission first!)
- Social Media – 55% of survey respondents use social media to learn more about organizations. But keep in mind a poor strategy and a lack of participation will be counter-productive
- E-newsletters – 47% of respondents use these to learn more
- Engage them as volunteers first – This age group is typically more rich with time than they are with cash
- Provide a continuum of engagement opportunities so they can wade in and find ways to do more as their interest increases
- Tell your story effectively – and this is something that is relevant for all age groups
- Highlight powerful statistics which communicate your organization’s impact.
- 42% of respondents said they give because they were inspired “in the moment”. That’s a direct result of effective storytelling and making it easy to donate.
- Provide easy opportunities to give online – 70% of respondents indicate they donated online last year
- Make sure that you can easily convert inspiration into donations by strategically including links to donate online
There is a lot more in the report than detailed here, but these are the biggest takeaways. At the core, this age group says they’re looking for opportunities to engage. Organizations that provide these opportunities have the greatest potential to turn an e-newsletter subscriber into a donor. Of course, this dynamic is no different than with other donors. It’s just that the tools are slightly different.
The question is: do you have those tools in place to inform, cultivate and inspire this age group? If you don’t you are missing the boat.