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Online Giving and Millennials: What Makes Them Donate?

Allison Carpenter

by Allison Carpenter

Digital Strategy

04.11.2018

Right now, there are more than 75 million millennials on the planet. This renders them a larger generation than the Baby Boomers or Generation X.

 

Source: Pew Research Center 

As millennials have expanded their ranks, they’ve made a significant impact on society as a whole:

  1. They’ve altered the job market
  2. Changed the way people shop
  3. Driven the pace of digital technology to a fever pitch

One thing most people don’t realize, though, is that millennials have also changed the landscape of charitable online giving. NPOs who have been in operation for years are rapidly finding that the old methods just don’t work anymore and that it’s time to adapt.

The good news is that adapting is easy to do – as long as you start by understanding who they are, and what drives them to participate in social change.

Millennials and Charitable Online Giving: 4 Things Every Nonprofit Should Know

While many people have an impression of millennials as being obsessed with renting rather than owning, and adverse to donating money, this isn’t true.

The fact is that they do make charitable donations, they just have a unique set of requirements surrounding how, why, and when they give.

Here are a few truths about millennials and the charitable giving landscape they live in:

1. Millennials Give via Online and Social Channels 

As tech natives, millennials are most comfortable donating in an online environment. In fact, this comfort level is one of the primary disruptors of the charitable giving landscape. Considering that virtually all have a smartphone in their pocket, progressive NPOs have changed the way they search for and accept donations.

Today, millennials are more likely to give if your NPO runs fundraising events on crowdfunding platforms or participates in social-friendly online events like #GivingTuesday. They also love donation-friendly apps and websites, which make it easy to send money instantly (and from their phones).

In doubt about whether or not this is that important? Online giving increased 7.9 percent in 2016, so it’s not a place your organization can afford to skimp.

2. Millennials Want to Share Their Giving on Social 

While previous generations may have just donated and kept quiet about it, millennials value sharing news about their causes and showcasing their participation.

The architects of carefully constructed social identities, millennials value sharing images on their social platforms. They also want to tweet back and forth with their organizations, and invite friends to fundraisers and other social events.

When a NPO or social good organization makes it easy for them to do this (via active participation on social, and a website that makes social sharing straightforward), millennials are likely to give more and get their friends on the bandwagon, as well.

3. Millennials Value Results 

Unlike previous generations, which may have donated to the same cause for decades, millennials are more driven by results than they are an attachment to specific NPOs. As such, it’s essential for nonprofits to keep their millennial supporters in the loop about what donations are doing and where the money is going.

A simple holiday card won’t cut it, either. Instead, NPOs of today must send out regular email newsletters, social updates, and other forms of digital communications meant to keep their supporters in the loop.

4. Millennials Are Open to Ongoing Donations

According to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report, more than 50% of millennials would be happy to make monthly donations to a nonprofit of their choice.

The most significant challenge for NPOs, however, is retaining and engaging these high-value donors. While millennials are happy to contribute to your cause, they want a few things in return. Namely, they want online donation platforms, access to real-time updates on project and program results, and the ability to share their results online.

When these things are available to millennials, they’ll be happy to make recurring monthly donations to your organization.

Encouraging Millennials to Give in the Digital Age 

Millennials are a large generation with a considerable amount of purchasing power. They’re also very willing to donate money to the causes and nonprofits they care about – as long as those nonprofits meet them halfway.

By arranging your online presence and donation interface to align with the digital landscape of cause-minded millennials, it’s easy to capture the attention of this generation and earn their ongoing support for your organization.

Want to evolve your organization into a millennial-friendly, digital powerhouse? Contact Creative Science today!

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