It’s no wonder that charities across Australia are clamouring to gain the attention of Millennials – the generation born between 1982 and 2004. Collectively, they account for around 20 per cent of the country’s population, and they are far more discerning and socially conscious than their parents or grandparents’ generations ever were.
According to a recent study, 9 out of 10 millennials say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause they cared about and would be willing to make personal sacrifices to make an impact on issues that are important to them.
What’s more, over half of Australian millennials are university graduates, making them more likely to be financially secure and therefore in a position to support or donate to a cause. Sounds like an easy win, right?
Wrong. Millennials may have a socially responsible mindset and like to talk a good game, but when it comes to charitable giving, they’re actually quite an elusive bunch. To capture their attention and fundraising dollars, you need to tailor your approach and your thinking accordingly. Forget door-knocking and cold calls: what worked for their parents’ generation won’t even get a look-in with this new breed of supporter. Read on to find out how to make your fundraising strategy more millennial-friendly.
Be where they are.
This is a generation that has grown up with social media – using it is like second nature to them. Now so much more than just a way to stay in touch with friends, millennials turn to Facebook, Twitter, Messenger and other mediums to conduct many aspects of their lives, from ordering food to reading the news. It stands to reason that charities which have a powerful social media presence and seamlessly integrate social into their fundraising platforms are going to resonate and register with this demographic more strongly than those which do not.
Remember, millennials are time-poor, with short concentration spans – they’re not going to open and read your impassioned, perfectly-crafted email explaining the history of your cause. They want their information in bite-size chunks which they can scroll past and pause on if the information captures their interest.
Show them how they’re making a difference.
This means telling them exactly where their donation is going – no matter how big or small. This creates an emotional connection with the cause and a feeling that they’re more than just a wallet. Millennials are also notoriously sceptical and want to see proof that their donation is going towards affecting real, tangible change and not your organisation’s running costs.
Make giving short and easy.
Offering a ‘sign in with Facebook’ option as an alternative to filling out an online (or worse, paper) form will instantly improve millennials’ willingness to sign up to your cause because it requires minimal effort on their part. Don’t underestimate the value of donor handles either. Giving a choice of dollar options helps to make the giving process simpler and faster, prompting them to donate and avoiding the quandary of deciding how much is appropriate.
As digital natives, millennials expect technology to work smoothly, 100 per cent of the time, and don’t have the patience to wait while a page loads or navigate a poorly designed web page to find a donate button. More often than not, they are multi-tasking – which means anything that requires more than a cursory glance in order to be understood is going to fail the litmus test. If your online platform is clunky and cumbersome, you’ve got problems.
Think mobile over desktop.
The rise of mobile technology can’t be underestimated. While older generations may still be reluctant to use their smartphones to make financial transactions, younger donors do it without a second thought. They’re far more likely to donate while scrolling through their social feeds on the way to work or while waiting to meet a friend for coffee than they are while sat at their computer screen. Don’t let designing for mobile be an afterthought.
Just because you’re talking to millennials, it doesn’t mean you need to change who you are as a brand or dilute your message. Millennials have a nose for when a brand is being inauthentic and can tell when you’re trying too hard. It can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon if you see something working well elsewhere (hello ice-bucket challenge copycats), but it’s more important to make sure that the the tactics you employ and the language you use are right for your organisation and cause. Being clear about what you stand for and having a strong voice is the best way to win millennials’ respect.