Why Marketing to Millennials Won’t Get You Major Donors–But That’s Okay [VIDEO]

Learning how to market to millennials is a hot button topic in the nonprofit sector right now.

But are millennials worth the time and money it takes to court them?

The answer may surprise you.

Why Marketing to Millennials Won’t Get You Major Donors–But That’s Okay


Nonprofits marketing to millennials. Should I do it, how do I do it, WHY should I do it?—All things your organization could be kicking and asking itself about.

Let’s cut to the chase – should nonprofits market to millennials? In short, yes—but it’s a commitment and process of the “time is money” mantra, which also means time equals money.

You can’t market to millennials and just expect fundraising dollars to increase. A millennial is someone born anytime from around 1982 to 2001. So while there might be 80 million millennials just in the United States alone, how much do you think that group is making in a year on average? Not a whole lot. Older millennials might be doing well for themselves, but a majority are either just starting their careers or still in school—with the weight of student loans and other forms of debt on their shoulders. Not a lot of disposable income right there.

That’s why nonprofits marketing to millennials need to focus on building a relationship rather than gaining fundraising dollars. Let’s focus on this time equalling money process—you’ve all heard the saying “time is money.” Since many millennials aren’t in the financial position to make a significant donation, focus on a donation of their time instead. Once you have millennials who have a passion for your organization, nurture that relationship. Keep them involved with volunteer activities that interest them and figure out their preferred means of communication. And make sure you don’t dumb down your message. We’re smarter than you think, so keep to a message that’s consistent to your organization.

The strong buying power of millennials will only get stronger as our generation shifts and gets older. As we become more stable, so do the nonprofits that are near and dear to us. Just because we can’t give a monetary donation now, doesn’t mean we won’t in the near future.

So when marketing to millennials, don’t focus on increasing fundraising dollars—at least right now. Build and maintain relationships with millennials so it’s your organization on the top of their minds when they’re financially stable. When they have a close relationship and connection to your cause, you’ll start to see an increase in not just time volunteered, but money donated as well.

Thanks for watching.

Why Marketing to Millennials Won't Get You Major Donors–But That's Okay

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.

July 24, 2013

You May Also Enjoy

Become a Member

Whether you’re with a large team or a solo entrepreneur looking to start the next great cause, we have a membership package that will help you grow your network and your cause.