Your Guide to Millennial Donor Retention

Contrary to popular belief, millennials are not the entitled, narcissistic generation that popular media would

have us believe. In fact, they’re anything but. Don’t just take our word for it – consider this statistic as reported by Bloomerang: “According to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report, a whopping 84% of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014”. If your nonprofit wants to tap into the buying-power of the largest portion of the population, doing so relies on answering two crucial questions: “How do we get them interested enough to become donors?”, as well as “How can we increase millennial donor retention rates?”.

To help you answer these, you need to be aware of the following: 

Millennials are an incredibly diverse generation 

The number one differentiating factor between millennials and their predecessors is the fact that they’re not defined solely by their demographic data. As this article from Forbes points out: “You’ll find millennials consisting of everyone from single mothers to middle class professionals. You’ll find them in every single social class and industry from apps to fashion trends and marketing.” 

When it comes to donor retention (and attraction), you need to personalize your marketing campaign. A message that resonates with one millennial won’t necessarily resonate with another. To do this, create personas and get to know them thoroughly.

Targeted, relevant storytelling is crucial

Millennials grew up in the age of curated content. They’re seemingly connected 24/7, interacting with online peers via multiple platforms including SnapChat, Instagram, YouTube and Reddit. Never before has a brand’s ability to craft a compelling story been so important, as it’s these brand stories that influence all areas of a millennial’s life: from the clothing they wear and the restaurants they eat at to the music they listen to and the causes they support. The reason why storytelling is such an effective millennial marketing tactic? It appeals to them on an emotional level.

Talk to them in their own language, in the places they’re already ‘hanging out’ 

As the generation who witnessed the dawn of the social media age, and as a result, became its earliest and most ardent adopters, millennials are continuously connected via multiple devices. This ease of digital connectivity, coupled with instant gratification delivered by scrolling through seemingly never ending content means that millennials have an incredibly short attention span. If something doesn’t fully pique their interest, it’s on to the next item. If you want to focus your acquisition and donor retention on them, cold-calling or flyers in the mail won’t cut it. When it comes to millennial donor retention, short, frequent ‘bursts’ of relevant content, delivered on their preferred platforms, is the order of the day. When tailoring your marketing messaging to the millennial, Forbes suggests you keep this pertinent piece of advice “Millennials value authenticity over everything else. They’re more likely to listen to a fellow consumer, as opposed to a piece of promotional copy.” Present them with a thinly-veiled sales pitch, and they’re lost forever.

Make it as easy as possible for them to support your cause 

From finding a date to ordering dinner – all via a single swipe – millennials value convenience above all things. After all, they’ve grown up alongside the very technology designed to make all aspects of their lives simpler, faster, and more enjoyable. If you want to increase the donor retention rates of supporters from this generation, providing them with an easy way to donate or support your cause is paramount. This can be done via an app or your website; remember that regardless of the (digital) platform you use, user experience (UX) trumps everything else.

Be unequivocally transparent 

As we mentioned above, millennials can sniff a scam or dubious claim a mile away. And if they do, they’ll not only shun your nonprofit forever, they’ll tell all their friends about anything they deem a discrepancy. To gain, and keep, their trust, you need to be transparent about the way you’re using their donations, and the mission, objectives and challenges your nonprofit faces too.

Find out more about donor retention and online marketing for nonprofits by downloading our (free) eBook entitled How to Attract and Retain Donors. You can access it below.