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Mayes Wilson & Associates

Best ways to connect with millennial donors

Julie Whelan Capell |

Last month, I did a little myth busting about phone calls and millennials. If you read that post, you know that most younger donors have very distinct ideas about when to use texts versus emails versus the phone.

But those are just the means of communication. What about the best MESSAGES to use to connect with millennials and younger donors?

Before I get into the messages, let me dispel a couple of other misconceptions about millennials related to fundraising according to a 2022 report by Giving USA:

  • Millennials are more charitable than Boomers or GenXers. Giving by millennials increased by 40% between 2016 and 2022, while it decreased for Boomers and GenXers.
  • Millennials are receptive to direct mail appeals, and are much more likely than boomers to respond by giving online.

And if you take into account that millennials are experiencing steadily increasing earning capacity, and stand to inherit more money from their parents, it makes perfect sense that they should be an important part of a comprehensive fundraising strategy.

Messages you should be sending to millennial donors:

  • Explain how their gift is making a difference. Feeling like their gift “didn’t matter” is the #1 reason millennials say they stop giving to charities.
  • Use info graphics rather than brochures and reports to show millennials the impact of their donations.
  • Welcome them into your donor circles by having lower thresholds based on age. Younger donors value experiences and also value intergenerational contact, so finding ways to bring them into “exclusive” donor spaces earlier is a great way to get them connected to your organization.
  • Keep all messages short–whether in texts or emails. For prospects who have not yet donated, focus on telling stories of people/animals/environment that need the support your organization offers (it’s okay to describe fictional clients who are representative of the work you do). For individuals who have already donated, tell stories of those who have already been helped.
  • Use photos whenever possible, but always get permission first. Videos are even better! [see my post Yes, you should be sending donors videos.
  • Offer ways for millennials to bring their friends with them–to your events, to volunteer, to jointly sponsor projects. Millennials are less likely to be married, or even partnered, than previous generations, so their friends are very important. Make sure your messaging is welcoming to these new configurations, not “for spouses only.”
  • Offer millennials ways to give stocks. According to the 2022 Estate Planning Study, there are actually lots of millennials who are already millionaires, and many are enthusiastically investing in stocks. If your organization can’t accept gifts of stock, you are missing out on some of the largest gifts millennials are giving.

Hot Tip:  Most of the techniques described above work just as well for ALL your donors!!  If you’re looking for ways to connect with your donors, connect with us, we’re here to help!

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