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How to Access the Tremendous Potential of Millennial Giving


By Will Schmidt

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Whether we want it or not, change always reaches us. It’s an imperative that’s just as applicable to our individual lives as it is for the nonprofit sector, which is sometimes averse to change. Regardless, nonprofits need to be ready for a new age of millennial giving.

The rise of millennials is important because millennials will soon become the dominant force in philanthropy. Rather than following the paradigm set by previous generations, millennials will carve out their own foothold with mobile first technology, social media, email, and digital trends.

Millennials won’t respond to the same communication and engagement practices nonprofits have relied on for decades, like direct mail campaigns. If you can’t adapt to the changes millennials bring to the table, you risk facing major roadblocks on fundraising and support goals.

Thankfully time is still on your side as most millennials are relatively early in their respective career paths. Before you can move them to donate, you have to first understand what makes them tick.

Defining Millennials

According to the New York Times (NYT), millennials are the largest generation currently alive, ranging in age from 15 to 35. Further, they’re considered the most tech savvy, globalized generation in history — that’s quite the title.

It’s no secret that millennials live with limitless sources of knowledge and information constantly at their fingertips. This access to information is so ingrained in the day-to-day life of a millennial that it’s no longer a utility or commodity, but an expectation.

This is a crucial piece to the puzzle for nonprofits, because it shows that millennials won’t wait for information. They can get whatever they need somewhere else almost immediately. If millennials can find out about events happening continents away in real time, why would they wait for a letter in the mail?

Nonprofits should look at it as an opportunity served up on a silver platter. You know precisely what millennials expect, what communication platforms they use, and the best channels to reach them. This is how you access an entire generation of supporters with the potential staying power to last for decades.

Millennials Want to Support Your Cause

The fallout from the 2008 economic recession hit millennials hard. It paved the way for countless, unsuccessfully launched careers that contributed to mountains of student loan debt. Understandably so, this combination has pushed millennials to be more conservative when it comes to their finances.

Despite their financial situation though, millennials are still open and willing to donate to social causes. In fact, according to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report produced in partnership by the Case Foundation and Achieve, 84 percent of millennial workers made charitable donations in 2014.

Millennials want to be a part of a solution and they are willing to try to tackle our most pressing challenges to help bring about transformative change in the social and corporate sectors.

Jean Case

Cofounder of the Case Foundation

The only problem is that, presently, millennials have limited capital for donations. To that end, when they make a donation they want to be sure it doesn’t go to waste. Millennials want their support to have a measurable, visible impact.

Even with a stunted start, millennials’ financial and social power is only going to increase over time. Baby Boomers will retire as millennials advance into open leadership positions across businesses, governments, and the social sector.

Don’t Procrastinate—Your Future Starts Now

When it comes to engaging millennials it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We compiled our Guide to Millennial Giving to ensure you don’t miss any opportunities. Fully equip your nonprofit with the insight and tools necessary to do everything from attracting millennials to your cause all the way through cementing them as lifelong advocates. Download our guide and get started right away!

The Guide to Millennial Giving

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