By 2017 millennials will have more spending power than any other age group. Let that sink in for a bit.
There are more than 80 million millennials (Generation Y)—the demographic group born between 1979 and 2001—in the United States. While there is a portion still in their teenage years, there’s also a significant portion who have moved past entry-level positions and are well in to the middle of their careers. And they’re more generous than you might think.
According to Blackbaud’s Next Generation of American Giving Report, millennials donate, on average, an annual gift of $481. If you consider that as many as 67 million millennials are giving to charity, that average gift adds up pretty quickly.
What does that mean for your organization? For most of us, we need to stop asking, ‘how do we attract millennials?’ Chances are they are in your file and are already giving. Instead we need to ask how we motivate them to give.
Motivating Millennials to Give
So, what does motivate millennials to give? The answer is “not your organization.” Millennials tend to support specific causes or issues, and it’s the desire to affect their cause through your organization that leads them to donate. Fifty-seven percent of millennials want to see the impact of their donation. (but please don’t send your 55 page annual report; they don’t have time for that!)
How do you get millennials (or other donors, for that matter) invested in and excited about your mission? Encourage them to volunteer! Volunteers often turn into consistent and loyal donors — and because they have experienced your mission first-hand, they’ll be more evangelical in encouraging others to contribute as well. And the majority of that engagement will take place on social media. If millennials are passionate about your cause, they have the potential to influence hundreds, or even thousands, of their peers on your behalf. At least 50 percent of millennials share information about charities they support (or don’t support – eek!) on Facebook.
How Do Millennials Give?
If your website is not responsive, better make that a priority. Seventy-six percent of millennials use a mobile phone as their only phone, and when it comes to online transactions, 62 percent would give via their mobile phone. And why not? It’s quick and easy. Or at least, it should be. Make sure that donate button is top priority on your mobile site.
Other important giving methods for this generation include peer-to-peer fundraising (again, this comes back to building relationships, e.g., a team atmosphere) and recurring giving programs (simple, one time transaction and a year’s worth of giving is taken care of).
Be transparent with this generation and consistent with your communications. By building strong relationships with these young philanthropists, you will help empower them to become agents of change for your organization, and you may reap big lifetime rewards from this generation.