What a millennial donor wants
5 August 2019 at 5:29 pm
With millennials now representing a quarter of the global population, a new report is warning NFPs and philanthropy groups to pay attention to the different ways the demographic is interacting with causes and bringing about social change.
The report, by American NFP the Case Foundation, annually surveyed 3,000 US millennials for the last 10 years on how they engage with causes to make social change.
The decade-long research report found millennials identify with issues over institutions, strongly believe in the power of activism, and believe that small and virtual acts could lead to larger social change.
This generation also doesn’t see publicly volunteering or donating as more valuable than signing a petition, using their voice to raise an issue, or using their purchasing power to support a cause.
The report said to stay relevant, organisations needed to forge more genuine relationships by viewing any contribution and involvement in the cause as being of equal value and worthy of equal attention, no matter what it was.
“Marketers and fundraising staff who continue to think within tried-and-true parameters risk alienating younger audiences and missing opportunities to engage them for the future,” the report said.
Unlike any other generation, millennials were found to be empathetic towards others who don’t look like them, speak the same language, have the same level of education or come from the same background.
This means that millennials are more likely to follow their hearts and go where the causes call them, rather than support one organisation that is making a change on an issue. On average, American millennials are supporting up to five NFPs a year.
Millennials are more inclined to stick with one particular organisation if they can see the direct impact of their donation. Three quarters of these givers were not willing to donate to cause groups unless they knew exactly what they were spending their money on.
Sarah Wickham, Philanthropy Australia policy and research manager, told Pro Bono News that the American trends were on par with what was happening in Australia. She said that Australian charities needed to quickly shift the way they were engaging with this growing cohort.
“It’s less about relying on an existing brand and more about showing how your work connects directly to the passion area of interest of millennials,” Wickham said.
She said a good example of this in Australia was The Channel, a giving circle that educates members about the challenges and opportunities faced by LGBTIQ+ communities and give members a chance to vote on community projects which they can then see the outcome of collectively.
Wickham also said making the most of social media and online tools had to be a focus for Australian groups if they wanted to engage millennials.
“Charities need to become far more tech-savvy, more engaged with individuals, and telling stories through social media platforms,” she said.
“Because what we do know with millennials is when they get behind a cause or an organisation, they do give it their all.
“So there is a whole lot of opportunity for millennials to connect with each other and open doors and create more opportunities within their broader network.”