09 Dec Attracting Millennials to Your Non-Profit
With over 92 million people, Millennials are now the largest generational cohort living in the United States. Compare that to the 61 million members of Generation X or the 77 million Baby Boomers. Millennials now account for the majority of the workforce. Every year, it becomes clearer that both businesses and non-profits have to strategically get Millennials buying into their brand. But just how does one make its brand more attractive to Millennials? How about specifically for non-profits?
To answer that question we explored conversations with Millennials in California. Here are three valuable insights we have found:
1. Have a strong digital presence
A surprising number of non-profit organizations view their website, social media, and online presence as a medium to low priority. Ten years ago, the average American would still be printing out directions from MapQuest and keeping their online experience almost entirely to their personal computer at home or at work. In the span of less than a decade, technology’s growth has dramatically changed.
The average American now can get directions digitally at the palm of their fingertips, with the smartphone device that fits inside their pocket. This holds even more true for Millennials, who came to adulthood during a time when Facebook and Apple iPhones came to existence. According to a Pew Research Center study on Millennials, more than 8 out of 10 Millennials sleep with their smartphones next to them, and 75% of Millennials have a profile on a social media website. More than 72% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while many don’t trust advertisements. Millennials are more likely to search their favorite search engine for recommendations on restaurants, doctors, entertainment, travel, lodging, schools, businesses, and just about everything else.
Organizations that want to attract Millennials need to make sure they place a strong digital presence at the top of their priority list. Many Millennials will search your organization on the internet to find out the credibility of your organization. Organizations with outdated websites are more likely to be passed upon by Millennials. A gorgeous, public-facing website is a necessity for organizations. that are interested in attracting Millennials. Organizations that want to reach out directly to Millennials will also need a strong social media presence. The longer organizations wait before they prioritize having a modern digital presence, the further behind they will fall as technology continues racing further away into the distance.
2. Win their Hearts & Minds
Founded in 2006 by Scott Harrison, charity: water is a prime example of a non-profit organization that has successfully captured the hearts and minds of Millennials. Millennials want to engage with non-profit organizations that have attractive branding and causes. charity: water is successful because of its visually gorgeous branding, and powerful mission of providing clean water to those who need it the most.
There is no shortage of non-profits working to provide clean water resources in the world. charity: water provides one of the best illustrations of that mission through gorgeous graphics and compelling digital stories.
Three type of social media posts get the most engagement with Millennials: ones that invoke an emotional response (i.e. a photo of a hungry child), ones that involve people who know or care about (i.e. photo or story of a friend), and ones that inspire (i.e. a quote or powerful story). There are a plethora of analytic tools available for non-profits to utilize to learn more about their audience, to make more engaging posts.
3. Convey Value in Illustrations
Non-profits often ask us how they can increase their engagement rates with Millennials. Increase your engagement rate by making sure that you have something of value that Millennials would want to contribute to or be part of. Organizations looking to make Millennials members need to be able to effectively convey and sell “why we do what we do” to Millennials. If Millennials do not buy into the why you do what you do, it becomes increasingly harder to have them engage with your organization.
Consider that the majority of Millennials entered the workforce around the Great American Recession a few years ago. As Millennials are starting their families and growing them, it is important that organizations profile the needs of Millennials accurately, so that your organization can provide relevant value to Millennials.
As a cohort, Millennials are more distrusting of organizations and businesses asking for donations because of the growing number of organizations that have outrageously high administration fees, with a low percentage of donations actually going towards the cause. Provide visual illustrations on where their money is going and how it will be used.
Millennials are the majority of the workforce. Non-profits can no longer afford to not strategize for Millennials.
Millennials want to do service, and want to feel that their efforts have a lasting impact. Non-profits who are not attracting Millennials need to re-strategize their digital presence and approach, or they will continue falling behind.