How to Sell Millennials on Your NPO [Video]

News flash: Millennials don’t care about your nonprofit.

Name recognition and branding isn’t the most important thing Millennials consider when looking to make a difference in the world. They want to know how they can make a difference and this is why it is important to you to share all the great work you do on social media. Use pictures, videos and stories to illustrate the great work you are doing.

By selling the work you do and the impact you have, you can recruit Millennials to be part of your organization, and if you play your cards right, also get them to eventually become donors down the road.


It’s time to stop fooling ourselves. No more thinking that everything is hunky dory between us and our millennial base. No more “Meh, we do social media. They have smartphones. They show up at our events. We have them, hook, line and sinker.”

What nonprofits need to realize is that… Millennials don’t care about you.

Still reeling from that? It’s no wonder. Nonprofits have been dedicating precious time and money toward getting the younger generation on board with donating. And, to an extent, they’ve donated but, we still have work to do.

What sets this generation apart from the others is not how they donate. But rather, why. Millennials are standing up and making an impact, but it isn’t based on name recognition and an organization’s popularity. It’s all about the cause. Millennials aren’t swayed by particular organizations, it’s through the issues that we are trying to tackle that we gain their support. Through donations or volunteering, more or less, millennials support ideology behind an organization than the organization itself.

So, what does this mean for nonprofits? Nonprofits need to sell the cause, not just the organization itself. This is where posting pictures and videos, and featuring stories in general on social media becomes important to your mission.

Look around a mall, a sporting event or even in school. You’ll probably find a ton of millennials with their heads down and smartphones out. They’re incessantly checking their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts. Promoting the work your organization does on these avenues is one of the keys to success.

Don’t just say “we rock” and leave it at that. Promote the goods. Post stories, pictures, make videos and feature the benefits you’ve helped to create. Give them the details of how donations have helped the afflicted and where the money goes. You’ll never know how much transparency will benefit the cause so feel free to over share.

From there, you leave it their hands. Yes, that sounds like a recipe for disaster, but look, you’ve given them the reason to join in. When they see your organization is genuine and making a difference on the issue they care about, then they’ll want to join in, too. And you know how it goes. They’ll tell two friends. Then, those friends will hopefully tell two friends. Then, they’ll tell two friends. And so on. Then, they’ll share this with their friends and continue the trend onward and upwards.

In summary, to engage Millennials you need to take the message to them and engage them in your mission. By showing them how they can contribute to your mission, they will become more invested in your nonprofit, which will lead to a lifetime of volunteering and eventually those highly sought after donations.

Thanks for watching.


Lincoln Arneal

Lincoln Arneal was a Senior Editor at Nonprofit Hub who brought loads of real-world nonprofit experience to the team. He was the past executive director of a nonprofit that provided leadership development to junior high and high school students. He looked to bring the insights from his time forming, developing, and running a nonprofit to help others in their quest to do good. Lincoln also had a legal background and had written for various newspapers (covering high school sports) for the past 15 years. He could be followed on Twitter at @NPLNK.

June 23, 2014

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