The Not-So-Secret of Engaging Millennial Donors

Young people. They’re all around us. Listening to their musics, flaunting their iPads and sporting flannel.

Generational disconnect has always been a potential difficulty for nonprofit professionals, but it’s only going to get more important for us to be able to get inside the heads of what will be the single largest generation in history.

Here’s the not-so-secret of engaging millennial donors.


As a relatively young person who grew up watching Power Rangers instead of Knight Rider, people like to ask me, how do I market to millennials? They’re so young and different and postmodern. What’s the secret to unlocking their hearts?

I’m here to tell you that the secret to marketing your nonprofit to millennials is… there is no secret. That’s what you wanted to hear, right?

The real secret is that how you approach millennials should be fundamentally similar to what you’re doing for ALL potential donors.

First, you get to know them on an individual level. What drives and motivates this unique individual? What messages does she relate to? What makes him go UGG or sets off his alarm bells for an unauthentic message? 

Second, reach your millennial donor where they are. It’s the same concept as reaching your 65+ age demographic–what kinds of content do they actually seek out? Do they have email? Are they on Facebook? You have to ask and do research for your constituency.

Finally, as Fundraising Superstar Gail Perry says, “Good fundraising is all about involving the donor — not just asking for money.” Get millennials involved and contributing. Create content they want to share with their friends, get them to volunteer, or genuinely just ask them their opinion on what they think about your major programs.

There’s no secret. Get out there and get us involved in your mission. Thanks for watching.


Marc Koenig

Marc Koenig is a regular contributor of Nonprofit Hub. Marc believes smart, ethical marketing can make the world a better place, and strives to create content that helps nonprofits tell better stories, push their organizations to excel and do work that matters. You'll find him writing Nonprofit Hub featured posts, brainstorming infographics and tweeting up a storm at @npmarc - follow him and say hi!

April 17, 2013

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