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How to Secure Relationships with Millennial Donors

How to Secure Relationships with Millennial Donors

In the age of information and media, fundraising can be daunting. For nonprofits, It is essential to expand the target donor to include the millennial mentality. Millennials make up 11 percent of nonprofit donations. While this may appear minimal, it's important to consider that millennials also have the smallest disposable income. As millennials age and reach higher levels of employment they will donate more. More likely than not, these more influential donations will go to the nonprofits that they have previously formed relationships with. Millennials heavily value the relationships they form with organizations, so it is essential for nonprofits to personalize goals and impacts in an accessible way.

Nonprofits have to tap into what motivates millennial donors. If an organization can determine what its audience is passionate about, the organization can promote its ideals in a way that resonates with its audience. It’s about involving the donor and not just asking for money. Here are some tips on how to curate long-term and prosperous relationships with millennial donors.


1. Gain and keep the attention of millennial donors

72 percent of millennials are interested in participating in a nonprofit group–it’s your nonprofit’s job gain that interest! To earn millennials attention your nonprofit's tone and message should be clear and headlines should be easy to find and interpret. Descriptions should be inspiring in order to facilitate the impulsive nature of millennials donors. A nonprofit's online presence should make millennials feel as if they can be of value to the organization’s mission. Once you have their attention you have the power to make an impression.


2. Stay connected

Millennials are on social media so your nonprofit should be on social media. Technology is the preferred way millennials regularly connect. Many millennial donors will contribute irregularily in small ways. These donors are impulsive, but are essential. Small initial donations can transform into long term relationships.To access these small dontions it is important for your nonprofit to have an up-to-date and striking online presence.

Staying connected through social media can also be a means to communicate with potential donors. Donations can be made visible through social media platforms. This visibility can increase your nonprofit's reach while extending the importance of your mission to a greater audience. For example, Facebook recently instituted the “donate now” button for cause related pages. This innovation makes donating easy, accessible and shareable. If millennials see Facebook friends donating, they are more likely to also donate. After the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepaul, $15 million was donated to the Medical Corps. As social media and fundraising are becoming increasingly interconnected, nonprofits need to utilize social media as a vital tool.



(Photo: Donations via Facebook's news feed button will go to the International Medical Corps via Adweek.)


3. Be strategic

Large donations are not the only goal! Many outlets can be used to attract millennial donors. Millennials are most likely to look for active ways to participate, such as volunteer work. In 2012, 73 percent of millennials participated in volunteer work. Hands on experiences like volunteering helps to build influential relationships that can lead to consistent giving. Volunteer work is a valuable form of donation–it's all about maximizing involvement.

Despite millennials not being the most influential donors, they prioritize cause related organizations– 52 percent of surveyed millennials were interested in regular monthly giving. This relates to the formation of long term relationships. If millennials are continually giving, your nonprofit benefits and your nonprofit's mission is reiterated to its frequent donors.


4. Form relationships

To form long term relationships with millennials an organization needs to forgo some of the structures and institutions that are traditionally used for fundraising. Millennials want to have a personal connection with the organizations they contribute to. Millennials donate to feel as if they have an impact– 57 percent of millennial donors want to see the impact their donation is having. In fact, millennial donors are likely to donate more if they see more results.

So, how does a nonprofit achieve this level of involvement with young donors?

Involvement can be contracted by sharing personal success stories, offering merchandise benefiting causes, sharing volunteer opportunities or offering links to petitions.

For example, the nonprofit, UN Trust Fund, partnered with Soko, a jewelry designer, to economically contribute to underprivileged female communities. Women in these communities make the bracelets and 100 percent of the proceeds go toward helping to eliminate violence against women.




(Photo: Courtesy of Soko)


The campaign has been a huge success–Oprah and Nicole Kidman wear the bracelets, and other donors have flocked to Instagram and Facebook to display pictures of the bracelets with the hashtag #UNFT. Donors are attracted to the nonprofit because of how intimate both the cause and the bracelets are.

This is the a perfect examples of how to form donor relationships. #UNFT is trending, so awareness and expose are rising exponentially. Millennials are attracted to the interactive elements behind the campaign–a cause with a story and a product behind it. This forms a concrete relationship between the nonprofit and the donor, while also communicating the nonprofit’s goals on social media.


5. Do not over-solicit!

Almost two-thirds of donors say they are asked to give too frequently and that this solicitation decreases their donations. Millennials want to feel as if they are making a difference, not that they are forced to make a difference. While millennials do rely on emails to communicate and receive information, a major pet peeve is to be bombarded by nonprofit emails looking for donors. Sending emails everyday will only encourage millennials to unsubscribe. Phone calls and street soliciting can be seen as invasive and will likely not develop positive donor relationships. Be cautious to represent your nonprofit’s mission without being overbearing or desperate. The relationship with a donor is more important that the immediate donation.

Developing significant relationships with donors is not easy. If your nonprofit is new to targeting millennial donors, take some time to get to know your new target donor. The more you understand about how millennials use media and interact with nonprofits, the better you'll be at securing donor relationships.

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