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Appealing to the Millennials

Finding new donors and volunteers is a challenge facing almost all non-profit organizations on an annual basis. For years, the baby boom generation and Generation X have been the primary target audience. While it is important to maintain these relationships, the Millennials (AKA Generation Y) are the largest generation thus far with approximately 80 million members and are a key to the future success of many organization.

The Millennials are the generation of Americans born between 1980 and 2000 according to research contained in the 2013 Millennial Impact Report, which is an annual report issued by Achieve and the Case Foundation.  These reports have been conducted since 2009 and they have revealed information about the Millennials that is the key to understanding their habits, preferences and desire to work with non-profit organizations. The 2013 Millennial Impact Report can be found for free at the following website:

Millennials are a tech savvy generation that are used to daily interactions through social media and technology, especially their smartphones.  Making sure to have websites optimized for mobile phones and keeping the content fresh helps appeal to the Millennials.  Additionally, this generation seeks integrated online experiences through connected social media such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, as well as the classics such as Facebook and Twitter.  Not only will utilizing these tools help gain exposure to Millennials, but they are also FREE!

Secondly, Millennials love to feel engaged with the organizations with which they become involved.  This trend can be seen through events such as Pelotonia and the numerous 5K races held throughout the city.  These events allow donors to actively take part in something they enjoy and also post their activity on social media to encourage their friends and family to sponsor or join them.  According to the 2013 Millennial Impact Report, “Millennials showed significant interest in using their network—family and friends–to fundraise on behalf of causes they were passionate about.”

Lastly, supporting causes is much more appealing to Millennials than supporting specific organizations.  In order to differentiate your organization, you need to be seen as experts in your mission area.  Potential donors and volunteers will want to see personal stories about the people you help.  This can be done by focusing on success stories and being transparent about the facts your organization discusses internally.

The Millennial generation is the key to a successful future for most organizations.  Having a strong understanding of how they operate and how to appeal to them will put your organization in a favorable position for years to come.

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