How to make your cause compelling to millennials

This past week, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival hosted a panel on nonprofit organizations, called “Activism At Its Best.” In it, the main question was: What can organizations do to increase online engagement among potential supporters? This is an especially big question when it comes to the one demographic that everyone likes to talk about but nobody seems to grasp: millennials. You can’t just coast on your name anymore, especially because there are so many organizations out there that are trying to do what you’re doing. Instead, your cause is the focus, since their interest in you is often based on that alone. You have to reach out to them, rather than the other way around. Nonprofit CRM software can assist by giving you better ways to effectively communicate with them.

Go for the connection

When building up that connection, it’s important to have a strategy that invokes the cause as much as possible. At the SXSW panel, Hilary Gridley of DoSomething.org noted that her organization’s template for drawing in supporters is defined as, “Know it. Plan it. Do it. Prove it.” This model of thinking taps into the ideal of actions taking a personal agenda, according to The Nonprofit Times. Similarly, you should have a strategy for your nonprofit’s mission that is built on people doing things for their own sake, not just for the greater good of the cause.

What are you doing to make your cause personal for millennials?What are you doing to make your cause personal for millennials?

Another way to interest millennials is direct communication and support. Young people, who have grown up on social media, feel a need to be more connected to the cause and people that influence their beliefs. Lori Painter of PETA turned her nonprofit’s site into a source that coaches people who are interested in supporting animal rights, but aren’t sure how to really do it. While you don’t need to overhaul your site and staffing to reflect how to help with your cause, you can be supportive by simply answering emails or social media posts.

“Even if you don’t have full time staff, just take the time to respond and listen, that’s the way to build relationships,” Painter said.

Provide a more direct way to give

Just as much as your organization develop a more personalized agenda among supporters, donors should be treated in a similar manner. According to Network for Good’s Millennial Donor Playbook, you should determine if you’re doing enough for your organization to create a connection with potential donors. Millennials can be an impulsive bunch, acting in the moment. Playing to that aspect through pictures and video can help push these people to contribute to your cause in some way.

More importantly, you should be able to give these millennials the means to explain themselves when they act on the cause. This includes explaining where exactly their donations went in a way that is transparent and succinct. For example, after the contribution is made, send the donor a video that shows your organization conducting a mission backed by monetary gifts. After seeing who benefits from donations, millennials can share the cause with others, making your more compelling to people everywhere.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 19th, 2015 at 7:02 am and is filed under Online Advocacy, Online Fundraising, Web Trends & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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