How to Engage the Next Generation Donor

One of the biggest mistakes nonprofits make is treating Millennials differently than how you would any other donor. With your more involved, older donors, would you start communicating with them without finding out how they’d like to be engaged?

Probably not.

“Stop trying to figure out Millennials and just include them.”

That’s a powerful quote from the research Derrick Feldmann, CEO of Achieve, presented at the AFP International Conference 2013. And it can’t get simpler than that.

Before your nonprofit can engage these next generation donors, spend time understanding how they want to be engaged. And through Achieve’s research, the top three ways Millennials want to be engaged and learn more about your organization are through your:

1. Website

2. Social media.

3. E-newsletters.

Start focusing on these three areas to better engage Millennials. But how exactly can you improve these aspects of your organization to do just that?

Focus on these takeaways from Feldmann and Achieve’s research:

Nonprofit Websites Need

• A unique, purposeful and concise mission statement.

• Easy to use navigation that doesn’t make users dig for information.

• A clear call-to-action.

• Photos that help show what you do—not tell.

Nonprofit Social Media Tips

• Send messages using a campaign theme.

• Share compelling stats and ways a gift can impact your mission.

• Find leads to post and share stories on your behalf.

• Create a Facebook app to encourage giving—some can even collect donations.

• Send reminders during final days of your campaign, and goal updates throughout.

• Some posts can include direct asks, but not all.

Nonprofit Email Appeals Include

A series of 2-3 emails.

• Catchy subject line that’s personal.

• Concise and visually compelling.

• Options for gifts at different levels.

• Showing how donations affect your cause.

• Links to other great online content.

BONUS: Nonprofit Mobile Sites

• If over 5% of website users are viewing on mobile devices, you need a mobile strategy.

• Make your site mobile-friendly.

• Include a clear link to donate and easily accessible contact info.

• Make sure to incorporate an ask – don’t just put “an envelope on a table.”

Have mobile giving options – text or mobile pledge site.

Take this info to heart, beef up your online engagement tools and, “Stop trying to figure out Millennials and just include them.”

How have you found success in connecting with Millennials?
For more info on Derrick Feldmann’s research, check out The Millennial Impact.


Matt Spitsen

Matt Spitsen is the Senior Editor of Nonprofit Hub. As a millennial, Matt provides direct insight on how nonprofits must evolve to be relevant to his generation. Through his experience in leading nonprofit organizations, he understands the challenges many nonprofits face in evolving their organizations and embracing marketing and fundraising trends. Connect with Matt on Twitter at @mattforgood.

April 8, 2013

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