3 Next Generation Donor Myths To Avoid in Marketing a Nonprofit

With nonprofit organizations, the pendulum swings between donor acquisition and donor retention, after all,

both elements are crucial determinants of the success of marketing a nonprofit. But finding a new donor is a much more expensive endeavor when compared to retaining an old one. This is why you should focus heavily on the quality of donors you acquire. More specifically, your organization should aim to attract lifelong volunteers who are more inclined to stick with you through thick and thin and continually provide support for your great cause. 

Who better to target, than a generation wrongly considered to be the underbelly of our enlightened civilization? The generation that some may say are really the ‘underdogs’ that need to be pursued by organizations that value lifelong partnerships.

Yes, I am talking about the Millennials. 

Although Millennials represent a whole generation of change makers and make donations that support organizations, some nonprofits are still reluctant to target this generation because they are a crock pot of the most misunderstood and underestimated group of personalities.

Shrouded in stereotypes that are touted as facts because of dubious data interpretation, Millennials have unfortunately been labeled as the “lazy” and “entitled” generation. But our research actually shows otherwise.

This tech-driven generation is not just ahead of the curve, it’s also radically changing the shape of the global landscape. In a society where information travels as fast as the speed of light, Millennials are technologically savvy, adaptable, multitaskers who love social and online giving.

Their desires go beyond saving up for retirement, buying designer labels, or focusing on status. These are the risk-takers who challenge the traditional corporate systems by disrupting career ladders. They are not afraid of voicing their opinions or taking the path less traveled. They are ethically more responsible because growing up in a social media-driven generation, they are well aware that what they say or do can reach the opposite side of the world with just the tap of a button on their smart phones.

Here are three myths I would like to dispel about the Millennials, so that your organization can see why diversifying your donor pool is imperative to marketing a nonprofit:

  • 1
    Millennials can’t live without support from their parents – “Entitled narcissism” is a term most often used when defining Millennials. One of the reasons for this is the fact that Millennials are living with their parents longer than any other generation, according to Pew Research.

This is not because they are sitting in their parent's basement playing video games all day, or hanging out on the couch binge watching TV. Instead, they delay getting their own place because their priority is getting an education and climbing the career ladder. This is also the generation responsible for launching more new companies than their older counterparts.

  • 2
    Millennials are unemployedAccording to Forbes, the unemployment rate for Millennials sits at 12.8%, while the national unemployment averages at 4.9%. That’s a massive difference which at a quick glance might imply that most Millennials are unemployed and doing nothing.

But that’s far from the truth. The group responsible for the biggest chunk of these statistics is the 18-24 year olds. However, that’s because they are focused on getting a better education so they can get a higher paying job when they graduate.

  • 3
    Millennials are lazy – Millennials are said to have a bad work ethic but research shows that they are just as hardworking as Baby Boomers. Research by Ernst & Young shows that 47% of Millennial managers report working more hours in the last five years, compared to 38% of Gen X and 28% of Baby Boomers. Other research by PEW shows that Millennial population as a whole is projected to surpass that of the Baby Boomers.

Millennials make up the largest generation in U.S workforce, so they are anything but lazy. We are living in an era where the younger generations are looking into “work-life” blending rather than seeking a balance. Millennials are very ambitious, with many considering themselves work martyrs.

Why you should acquire Millennials to boost your nonprofit marketing 

Millennials have the largest buying power in the U.S. right now, and thankfully, they are also the most ‘giving generation’. They don’t just believe in monetary donations, they will also give you their time, and share your messages in their own social media to boost the reach of your cause. Here are some more reasons why you should design your next marketing campaign to target the Millennials:

  • They are passionate about causes – They don’t necessarily care about brands, but they do care about core messages of organizations. They care about nonprofits’ power for compelling storytelling, and transparency. They want to see how their gifts are being used, they want to be a part of the journey by seeing the impact they have made.

They also have a great deal of social media clout, so by tapping into their power of becoming social media evangelists, you can have your messages reach hundreds and thousands of interested folks – even with a fraction of your marketing budget. In the grand scheme of things, they are heavily invested in making a difference, so they cherish organizations who send them constant updates. And they don’t only appreciate the updates that show them where their money goes, but also those that let them know how else they can get involved with your cause.

  • Narrow your target market even more – Your nonprofit can also benefit by focusing on an even narrower bracket of the Millennials such as the fresh college graduates, who are brimming with enthusiasm and proactively searching for ways to give back to the community. With their creativity, talent and inquisitive nature, this group could be a great addition to your organization.

Fresh graduates often have free time that was previously taken up with studying for exams, part-time jobs or student clubs. They can now use that time to contribute to your cause. These are the type of people who want to be part of projects that truly make an impact which also allows them to and gain deeper meaning to their lives.

  • Longer relationships – Relationships are very important to Millennials. After all, this is a generation constantly in touch with their friends and family through the medium of technology. So if you can get them through your door early, then you will increase the likelihood of having them as lifelong supporters of your organization. As their financial situation becomes more stable the chances are, if they believe in your cause, they will make an even bigger donation.

Attracting and retaining donors is difficult for nonprofits, especially with limited resources. But, technology has made the world smaller and more connected. And at the forefront of this shift are the Millennials. They should not be ignored.

To make the most out of your limited budget, it’s important to keep your fundraising strategies optimized for both efficiency and effectiveness when marketing a nonprofit. To learn more, download our eBook entitled How to Attract and Retain Donors.