Understanding the giving habits and motivations of your millennial audience will give you a leg up in the fundraising space. This group has begun to dominate across donor demographics, which your organization has probably seen if you’ve done a fundraising assessment recently. Nonprofits need to take an informed approach to appealing to them and beginning to cultivate a relationship toward a “lifetime donor.”

In this guide, we’ll explore the advantages of successfully targeting a millennial audience and then delve into some actionable strategies you can practice to earn their support. Let’s dive in!

Why should you target a millennial audience?

Understanding and engaging your audience is the key to success for any organization. Specifically, attracting and retaining millennial donors is crucial for a few key reasons:

  • They represent a large and diverse generation: Their varying interests can significantly expand your nonprofit’s reach and impact. Having grown up under the influence of the internet, they readily engage with causes through social media and other online platforms.
  • They can help secure future support: As millennials age, their capacity to give increases, which creates a consistent stream of support. They also often advocate for causes they are passionate about, which can encourage others to get involved and contribute. 
  • They can offer fresh perspectives: Millennials can bring unique and innovative ideas to the table. Their familiarity with technology can also enhance your organization’s fundraising and communication strategies.   
  • They have a strong desire to make a positive impact. Millennials often prioritize social and environmental responsibility in their choices, and frequently engage in volunteer work and supporting charities. 

For all these reasons, nonprofits need to think strategically about how to utilize impactful fundraising approaches to engage a millennial audience. Let’s jump right into some of our top strategies for turning the enthusiasm and social engagement of this generation into long-lasting support for your nonprofit:

Prioritize online giving methods and events

39% of Millennials prefer to donate through an online giving platform. Take advantage of this trend by ensuring your online fundraising features are recent and up to date. For example, if you decide to host an online auction, you’ll need to:  

  • Use engaging mobile features to bring attendees back in. Since millennials rely on their cell phones, ensure your platform is mobile-friendly, so they can engage from anywhere. You can also increase engagement by offering integration with various social media channels.
  • Select a secure payment platform. In a time where digital security breaches are common, millennials want to know their financial information is kept safe and confidential.
  • Take advantage of additional online donation features. Text-to-Give is a great feature to implement as supporters simply need to text a keyword to your dedicated number to donate.

Although raising money online may be relatively new for your organization, don’t be afraid to shake up your existing fundraising methods by hosting a virtual event or gathering more insight using AI tools. These online shifts can help your nonprofit stay ahead of the curve and bring new millennial donors into the fold. 

Lean into peer influence

Recent reports cite that 46% of millennials were more likely to donate and 65% to volunteer if a co-worker asked or participated. Since peer influence plays a critical role in encouraging millennials to donate to a nonprofit, here are ways you can lean into it for your fundraising strategy:

  • Try out Instagram reels to connect with a younger audience. With Instagram’s platform focusing on visually-oriented content over text, reels help you align with their user base’s preference for short and creative videos. Instagram also offers templates, complete with music, so you don’t need to create a reel from scratch.
  • Partner with businesses’ corporate philanthropy programs to spread awareness and experience increased support. Many millennials want to see the measurable social impact of the organizations they support; aligning yourself with a program that speaks to their values will make them more likely to donate. 
  • Host a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. This method leverages millennials’ social connectivity to not only raise more funds, but also spread awareness of the cause among their friends, family, and other followers. 

Since millennials often trust recommendations from their peers over traditional advertising, leaning into peer influence can be a powerful strategy to not only attract new millennial donors but also cultivate increased enthusiasm for current ones.

Amp up your monthly giving program

According to Nonprofits Source, 40% of Millennials are enrolled in a monthly giving program. Given this statistic, here are a few ways you can amp up your recurring giving program: 

  • Target current donors. Often, monthly giving programs are the next engagement step for supporters, so begin by looking for donors who already have a vested interest in your organization whether that be through their donation history or volunteer experience.
  • Choose event software features that enable recurring giving options. You can capture millennials at every budget by offering recurring giving, where they can sign up to give a smaller donation on a more regular basis, such as donating $10/month.
  • Offer incentives like behind-the-scenes content or early-bird sign-up options for supporters to take the leap and sign up. Millennials often seek out personalized experiences when engaging with non-profits, so incentives like this allow them to feel more connected to your organization.

Focus on creating a user-friendly monthly giving program that allows donors to easily manage their recurring donations. Make sure to include some engagement opportunities to strengthen the relationship between millennial donors and your nonprofit.

Maintain transparent communication

Recent reports have found that millennials are less trusting of nonprofit organizations. Secure their support by maintaining transparency. Communication is the key to this. Here are a few action steps you can take:

  • Share impact reports. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) and impact metrics to measure and report on the outcomes of your programs. Millennials value transparency, so share these metrics with donors to demonstrate accountability.
  • Set clear fundraising expectations and guidelines. For example, SchoolAuction.net recommends sending out silent auction rules for attendees to read and agree to before your fundraising event begins. Also, be clear with your cause–what are you trying to accomplish with your fundraiser and how will the funds be allocated?
  • Send out regular communications. Whether it’s via newsletters, emails, or direct mail, send out consistent messages to keep them informed. Doing so will maintain their engagement and trust in your organization.

Maintaining transparent communication is crucial for building trust and credibility with donors, volunteers, and the public. This openness not only fosters a stronger connection with your community but also enhances accountability and encourages more informed and engaged support.

Effectively engaging millennial donors is essential for your nonprofit’s sustainability. By implementing innovative fundraising strategies tailored to their preferences and values, you can tap into that demographic to both retain current donors and attract new ones. 

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