Money & Business

Want to Attract Young Donors? Show Them the Results.

By / Aug 5, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Millennials support causes they’re passionate about, but they expect to see results, according to a new study. Also, your organization’s digital presence makes a difference.

When millennials visit your organization’s website, it’s probably not you they’re there to see. They’re there to learn about a cause that’s important to them and find out how they can help right now, according to the 2013 Millennial Impact Report.

“It doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in the organization at all, it just means that what they’re trying to connect directly to is their passion or cause issue that they care about,” said Derrick Feldman, CEO at Achieve, the Indianapolis-based fundraising agency that conducted the study.

The survey of more than 2,600 millennials, funded by the Case Foundation, found that 72 percent are interested in participating in a nonprofit young professional group, and the three biggest drivers for getting involved were passion, networking, and expertise. Eighty-three percent of the respondents made a financial contribution to an organization in 2012.

“One of the constant things that we’ve seen is that millennials do give,” said Feldman. “That’s probably one of the biggest misconceptions is that they’re not givers. We are seeing them participate with organizations multiple times throughout the year in smaller amounts.”

Over half of those surveyed said they’d be interested in monthly giving.

But millennials find other ways to support causes as well, through mechanisms like volunteering, sharing information on social media, and signing petitions.

“Make sure that you’re inviting millennials in to help solve some challenges,” Feldman said. “Offer volunteer opportunities that aren’t onsite, get them involved in designing marketing items for the organization. Those are small things that groups can do to bring millennials in and help them feel like their time was well spent.”

The study also found that an organization’s website and mobile presence can play a huge role in how successful they will be at engaging millennials. For the first time in the study’s four-year history, Achieve conducted usability tests that tracked how millennials interacted with organizations digitally.

“We have a lot of questions built into the survey that get out how millennials engage with things like websites, social media pages, and emails. The data has been great, but we wanted to see it in action,” Feldman said.

More than 100 video recordings, like the one below, show millennials interacting with organizations’ sites and describing what they like and don’t like about them.

“Millennials look for two things when they come to a site: What’s the cause issue driving this organization, and how can I help?” said Feldman. “But time and time again, we heard back that sites were hard to navigate, to understand those clear deliverables that they wanted to do. That’s something organizations will need to figure out, especially with mobile sites—not only do they need a presence, but that presence has to be effective.”

Has your association had success engaging younger members through fundraising or volunteering? Share your story in the comments.

Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. More »

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