Recently, the Millennial Impact Project released their 2012 Millennial Impact Report. The report provides results from an extensive study of more than 6,500 millennials (defined as individuals ages 20-35) on how they learn, connect and give to nonprofits. This is an incredibly well put together report filled with lots of great data and engaging infographics. If you work for a nonprofit organization of any type, eleventy highly suggests you download the Millennial Impact Report ASAP (you can do that here).
In the meantime, we take a look a some key takeaways from the report for nonprofit organizations. These results provide unique insights on millennials and how they interact with nonprofits. Some affirm what we already suspected (but now have the hard data to prove) and some offer surprising revelations on this hard-to-pinpoint demographic. Either way, this information may change the way your organization approaches and targets millennials moving forward
9 Insights Into How Millennials Interact With Nonprofit Organizations
75% said they gave a financial gift to a nonprofit in 2011
For decades, nonprofits have largely disregarded younger generations in the belief they don’t give. Results from this report throw that theory out the window. In fact, millennials are willing to give to causes they are passionate about. While the majority of gifts (58%) were $100 or less per organization, the typical millennial supported five organizations in 2011 and 87% said they expect to support at least as many organizations in 2012.
70% said they gave online through a nonprofit’s website
Yet another reason why your website may be a lot more important than you thought. Millennials made donations online twice as often as in person or through the mail. When asked to rank their preferred methods of making a donation, the Web was also a clear winner. Respondents ranked online as their number-one way to make a donation, followed by “in person” at number two and “via mail” at number three.
65% prefer to learn about nonprofits from their websites
That means the first contact a large number of individuals have with your organization comes from your website. Provide a visually engaging website with informative content that is easy to navigate, and you may have gained a new, young supporter. But if your website is subpar, you may be losing out on millennial volunteers and donors.
47% prefer to get nonprofit info in email newsletters
Millennials value email communication from nonprofits if it tells them what they want to know. So what is that? News, Events and Volunteer Opportunities. Survey respondents said they want e-newsletters to be easy to sign up for on nonprofit websites, they want to be told up front what kind of information they will receive, and they definitely don’t want to receive emails too frequently.
79% of smartphone owners said they have connected with a nonprofit via smartphone
As you’re probably hearing more and more these days, mobile is becoming an increasingly important communication medium. This prominence of smartphone usage is making a mobile strategy more critical than ever for nonprofits – and mobile now means more than just texting. Millennials are using their smartphones to view websites, gather information and, in some cases, make donations.
67% have interacted with a nonprofit on Facebook
Millennials who have established relationships with nonprofits said they are willing to spread the word about worthy nonprofits, and they like to use Facebook for that purpose. 68% said they would tell friends about impressive statistics about a cause or issue, 65% said they would promote a nonprofit’s great story or accomplishment, and 61% said they would use Facebook to alert friends to volunteering opportunities and needs.
81% prefer to learn about volunteer opportunities from friends or family members
It’s a tried and true form of marketing, and still the best way to reach people: word of mouth. Like their older counterparts, millennials prefer to connect with nonprofit organizations through information, events or opportunities provided by friends or family members. That’s why it’s so important for nonprofits to facilitate peer-to-peer sharing.
48% said they prefer volunteer activities that use their education, background or expertise
In the same way that mass marketing has fallen by the wayside, the one-size-fits-all volunteering approach is not the most effective way to reach millennials. Instead, nearly half of respondents prefer to volunteer in a way that taps into their knowledge or professional experience. They want more personalized volunteer opportunities, where they feel like they can make a greater impact.
70% of millennials surveyed said they have raised money on behalf of nonprofits
Of those who have not, almost half said it’s because they haven’t had the opportunity. Even in their fundraising, millennials showed their technology preferences: slightly more than 40% of respondents said they have promoted a nonprofit on Facebook and posted a link for friends to give, and 21% have set up an online fundraising page for their favorite cause. When millennials do raise money, they like to keep it close to home and make it personal. 84% said they typically call on friends when they’re fundraising, and 80% reach out to their extended families.
If nothing else, the results of the 2012 Millennial Impact Report illustrate millennials are a viable audience all nonprofit organizations should take into account. The Internet has provided a gateway between nonprofits and this new generation, and it’s important to make a concentrated effort to build relationships with millennials to pave a path for future loyalty and giving. In addition, millennials offer a great source of volunteers – especially in the online space – where they are more than willing to reach out to friends and family for a cause they support.