10th March 2017Tamsin Haigh
Bringing in the Younger Generation: 9 Practical Tips for Millennial Fundraising
Waking up and checking social media is something that is ingrained in me. For better or worse, I receive most of my daily news from Facebook and, if something serious happens in the world, I jump over to Twitter to find out in real time what people are saying.
Promotional emails in my inbox go largely ignored – automatically filed away into a junk folder and rarely even opened. But if something comes up on my Facebook page, especially if my friends are already sharing it, it is unlikely that I’ll miss it.
The way that millennials (and social media users of all ages) communicate with the world around them has huge implications for how charities can best engage them. Once the initial hurdles are overcome, these forms of communication open up new possibilities for personal relationships with potential and existing donors.
First, a couple of generalisations:
- Millennials are inherently tied up in the rise of social media and mobile technology. And they engage with the world in a different way to previous generations. Young people are often criticised for being politically apathetic – they had the lowest turnout of any group in the UK’s general election in May 2015. But they just involve themselves differently. Today, everyone from Members of Parliament to Tesco can be communicated with over social media. The hashtag #blacklivesmatter was used over 9 million times in 2015. The US election tweeted over 75 million times. When even the President of the United States tweets back, filling in a ballot card starts to feel like an archaic way to get your voice heard.
- Millennials are flooded daily with attempts to sell to them, to get their likes and shares, and to solicit their donations. And they know it. Communication has changed, and marketing and advertising have changed. Charities, governments and businesses alike have cottoned onto this – spending hundreds of thousands of pounds working out the best way to get themselves noticed.
Amongst all this noise, what are some practical ways to use these new modes of communication to your advantage?
Here are some ideas from us:
- Make it mobile: Invest in an enhanced one-to-one relationship with your donors. An app is more expensive, but also a more personal experience. Imagine getting a notification on your phone every time the child you sponsor wrote a letter to you!
- Make it measurable: Everyone loves to track – give your millennials a live total of their donations, their volunteering hours, or their social media sharing.
- Make it tangible: They just gave £25 – that’s great! Now send them an immediate notification telling them what you’ll spend their money on and who that will make a difference to.
- Make it personal: Are your donors giving to a fund for a new classroom? Then use your mobile phone to send them a video tour. Introduce yourself, show them around, speak to the camera and say ‘thank you’.
- Make it immediate: Are you holding a consultation with the local community today? Then tell your supporters today. Get your phone out and send them a short interview with one of the stakeholders, provide them with a bit of analysis, and then tell them what you’ll do next.
- Make it relevant: If they want to know you’ve hired a new marketing director, or you’ve received a big institutional grant, they’ll look on your website. Only give them content relevant to them. Keep press releases for the press.
- Make it quick: Do they want to make a donation to your new fund? Do they want to increase their monthly contribution? Do they want to start volunteering? Let them do it themselves, with as few clicks as possible.
- Make it real: If they donate to your organisation, they want to feel knowledgeable about what you do –and they don’t want to be talked down to. If you’ve launched a new appeal, don’t just provide a marketing statement. Turn on your camera and talk about it. Tell them what will be easy, tell them what will be hard. It doesn’t need to be fancy – the more authentic, the better.
- Make it shareable: Let them share their fundraising totals, let them share their updates and – most importantly – make it as easy as possible for them to tell all their friends what you have achieved together.