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Posted by Adam Treiser on March 31, 2016 0 Comments

The stereotype of the entitled, unengaged Millennial is a frequent trope, but a look at the numbers paints a different picture. In 2014, 84 percent of Millennials made a charitable donation and the average gift amount was $481.

Although a generous generation, Millennials give differently than generations before them. To successfully court Millennial donations, development teams need to take a refined approach in how they solicit giving to be more in-step with this generation’s priorities and values.

Giving for a Cause

Millennials tend not to give out of a sense of obligation or loyalty, but will support causes close to their values.

“Millennials like to think of themselves as not just donors, but investors,” said Meg Fowler Tripp, Director of Editorial Strategy at Sametz Blackstone Associates. “They don’t give out of obligation. They give out of a sense of mission.”

For college and university development teams that means just being an alum may not be enough to get a donation from a Millennial. While a young graduate might not answer a general appeal for gifts, linking the donations to a specific cause will likely boost donations. So, for example, instead of a general campaign for the science department, ask for donations for scholarships for women going into the STEM fields.

Make it Easy to Spread the Word and Give

What do successful giving campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge and #GivingTuesday have in common? Along with being wildly successful, they are also viral and easily shared among peers. Creating giving campaign materials that are easily sharable has two big advantages: Your donors will help broaden your reach by sharing the content and it means the ask is coming from a friend, classmate, or coworker.

It’s also important to take into account where Millennial donors will be engaging with your content. Smartphone usage has grown exponentially and it’s likely more and more of your donors will be seeing your information on a smaller screen. Having a website and collateral that are mobile- and tablet-friendly makes it easier for donors to give right away, from wherever they are.

Build a Relationship

Currently Millennial donations make up only around 11 percent of total giving, but that percentage is likely to increase. Although recent grads and young professionals may not have a lot of money to donate, Millennials still tend to support the causes that are important to them. As Millennials pay off student loans and advance in their careers, their capacity to give will grow.

“Nonprofits know the young adult you strike up a relationship with today can become a longtime supporter down the road,” said Jim Klocke, Chief Executive Officer at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

Cementing a relationship now with Millennial donors will pay off, so make sure to start your relationship off on the right foot. Especially with many Millennials feeling cash strapped, asking for too large a donation is an easy way to alienate potential donors.

Using predictive analytics that look at both a Millennial’s capacity to give and their willingness to give to your organization provides a good donation amount that won’t be offensive to donors and will maximize giving.

Want to find our more about how you can help you get millennial donors onboard early? Contact us today.

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