How Your Nonprofit Organization Can Better Engage and Activate Millennials

By eleventy marketing group

A few weeks ago, we published a post discussing Nine Key Takeaways for Nonprofits from the 2012 Millennial Impact Report. Today we take a closer look at some significant findings from that report, and how your organization can transform information into action. Using what we know about Millennial nonprofit preferences, engagement and interaction, you can create a marketing strategy to leverage the unique skills of Millennials and pave the path for future loyalty and success.

“More than 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 simply haven’t had the opportunity.”

Is your nonprofit reaching out to Millennials?

For decades, nonprofit organizations have chosen not to spend a lot of time or money on marketing to younger generations because the perception is they don’t give. That’s not entirely true. Millennials do give (as the Millennial Impact Report supports), they just give less (which makes sense since they have less). A lot of Millennials also reported they didn’t give because they didn’t have the opportunity. They simply weren’t being asked. Make it point of your marketing strategy to reach out to Millennials, and you may actually be surprised at the results you receive.

“When asked how they prefer to support a nonprofit, 47% said give of my time, 16% said give financial support, and 37% said both time and money.”

Don’t approach Millennials the same old way

No, you’re not going to get a massive financial windfall by reaching out to Millennials. But that doesn’t mean Millennials can’t be an asset to your organization. In fact, they provide a number of unique advantages. The key is to approach Millennials with different options and calls to action. While Millennials may not provide a huge boost in terms of giving (at least in the short term), they still can provide a great value for your organization in a number of key ways:

  1. Increase your organization’s volunteer force
  2. Recruit more young donors and volunteers
  3. Engage more people online and via social media

Focus your Millennial marketing strategy on creating engagement. Rather than concentrating on scoring a donation, work to create a connection, develop a continuous relationship and give Millennials different ways to get involved. Show them how they can help and the impact their assistance will have. Make it more about community and involvement than giving.

“63% of surveyed Millennials reported they volunteered for nonprofits in 2011. This good news is matched with more: 90% of respondents said they expect to volunteer as much or more in 2012 than in 2011.”

Three ways to inspire Millennials to get involved

Through the development and implementation of our ONCORE Online Fundraising System for a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, eleventy has learned firsthand a number of best practices for better connecting with younger volunteers and donors. Here are three ways to tailor your appeals to Millennials:


Rather than asking Millennials to jump into your world, make an effort to jump into their world. Create appeals that look at the problem, issue or trouble from their perspective. Show them why the problem affects them, and compel them to get involved. Use language and images that speak to their generation.

Make it EASY

Millennials are more than willing to volunteer – especially when you make it quick and easy. For example, there is one key tool that almost all Millennials are adept at using: the computer. Give them the opportunity to volunteer online. As a result, Millennials can help you recruit a plethora of new donors while enhancing your organization’s online presence in the process.

Make it SOCIAL

The best way to recruit Millennials for donation and volunteer opportunities is through peers. In this group, peer influence plays a huge role. By leveraging online peer sharing, you can get more people involved (with minimal spending) and encourage them to take action. Give your Millennial volunteers an easy way to share through social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.

“Throughout our research, peer influence has played an important role in motivating Millennials to volunteer, attend events, participate in programs and give. This remains true even when it comes to asking others for donations. Even if Millennials can’t give as much as some other demographic groups, they nonetheless are willing to help raise funds for causes they care about, usually by calling on friends and family.”

Empower Millennials with online fundraising

A great way to reach out, engage and activate Millennials is to develop and integrate a targeted online fundraising campaign. Use the tips from above to design your campaign to make it relevant, easy and social for Millennials to get involved. Give them a fun and familiar way to share information about your organization and/or cause with family and friends. Since Millennial online social circles tend to be large and their peer influence is high, your campaign has the potential to spread and grow like wildfire.

How ONCORE helps you reach Millennials

eleventy’s ONCORE online fundraising platform provides nonprofit organizations a quick, convenient and easy way to empower Millennials to volunteer and get involved on the Web. With ONCORE, Millennials can create their own personalized pages (similar to Facebook pages) showing their support for your organization, and asking friends and family members to visit their pages and make a donation. Learn more about how ONCORE can help your nonprofit better reach out to Millennials.