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Nonprofits and Millennials

Nothing is as important for nonprofits as donor engagement. And holding virtual conversations with supporters is an integral part of the dialogue, especially as the generational wheel turns.

This article by Carrie Collins-Fadell from a piece in the NY Times and republished by Nonprofit Quarterly, points out that millennials are remaking the whole framework for charitable giving. Social movements are becoming the main focus of involvement as they look for ways to take an activist role in changing society.

Did you know that:

That’s pretty awesome!

Millennials and their trailing Gen Z group are digital natives and their patterns of giving reflect that. Charity apps, email blasts and text messaging are natural channels. In fact, Blackbaud’s report says that 62 percent gave via mobile phones last year. One touch donating is quick and easy.

Younger donors not only give dollars, they also give their time and skills. Nonprofits would do well to consider how actively inviting younger generation donors to volunteer in activities and events increases the relationship between them. Using social media to alert volunteers about opportunities is a natural. (I wonder if anyone has ever tried a Rave volunteer activity?).

So, how to begin engaging this online group? They have grown up with social media and it’s their second nature to stay connected all the time. This is the new frontier for nonprofits savvy enough to realize it.

The challenge is that the technology changes very quickly. Every day new applications pop up. Familiar platforms like Facebook and Twitter modify their interfaces regularly. Where we once “Liked”, we now “React”. Video is king on FB and will be placed at the top of your media news stream. Suddenly, Twitter has changed the rules about what counts in your 140 character tweet.

How do we keep up? And more importantly, how does this impact communication campaigns with members, donors, and subscribers?

Today I am starting a blog series on social media for smaller nonprofits. When a new topic intrigues me, I turn into a student ninja. I subscribe to newsletters, listen to webinars, scrutinize blogs and follow community experts. It takes time to digest the material and start putting puzzle pieces together. You have to separate the useful stuff from the hype.

Maybe you work at a nonprofit where keeping up the FB page is combined with marketing. Or maybe you are responsible for fund development as well as trying to follow your Twitter and Instagram channels. There is enough to do without having to stay on top of all the updates, isn’t there?

If that’s your situation, I invite you to subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter as we deep dive into the most popular social media platforms to learn more and figure out how they can be leveraged together in meaningful ways for nonprofit staffers and their donor groups.

Jayne Dutra is a new member of the nonprofit community and is dedicated to social advocacy for underserved populations and the community at large. She believes in building public engagement to improve conditions for all citizens. She can contribute help with social media, digital content strategy, graphic design, grant writing or data analytics.

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