Findings Friday | Activating Millennials

Millennials are often noted in the news for their laziness and narcissism, whether it be for updating social media with every detail of their life or the increase of "slacktivism," trading in volunteering for a few clicks here and there.  Today, we have something entirely different for you: an actionable, evidence-based report for engaging those passionate folks born between 1979 and 1994.

Last week, Achieve, in partnership with the Case Foundation, released the 2013 Millennial Impact Report. The survey investigated best practices for reaching, involving and optimizing impact with the Millennial generation.

In a sentence: Millennials value causes over organizations. This informs how they engage with nonprofits and their missions, leaving it “to organizations to inspire them and show them that their support can make a tangible difference on the wider issue.” After auditing organizations’ websites and surveying 2,665 individuals, researchers drew some conclusions about how to connect with this young generation.

 

CONNECT


Leverage your online presence – your web page, social media, blog, etc. – to demonstrate your impact. That goes beyond an organization’s outputs to illustrate anecdotal, qualitative outcomes.  Rather than continuously visiting a nonprofit’s website, Millennials will access content and information through the more convenient routes of social media and RSS feeds. (For instance, you can follow our blog by entering http://www.gcn.org/rss/blog.xml into an RSS reader like Feedly.) And more often than not (70% of the time), all of this is done on a smartphone, so keep it simple and mobile-friendly.

Three-fourths of respondents liked, favorited and/or shared content (especially images and videos). Keep in mind that Millennials are issue-focused and picky about what they share, so carefully catering posts (think: "authenticity, variety, and actionable information") to this group will go a long way for your mission. Overall, don’t dismiss social media as an unworthy communications outlet; track your analytics.

 

INVOLVE


Nearly 75% of Millennial respondents volunteered for a nonprofit in 2012. Their motivations? Passion for the cause (79%). Meeting people who care about the same cause (56%). Being able to lend skills and expertise (46%). The study also finds that online training – rather than in-person – is often preferable (47%) as it is a more convenient and efficient use of time.

Further, Millennials’ relationship with volunteering is ideally mutually beneficial. A true return-on-investment should be obvious. Volunteering is a venue for networking and skill-building. As we know, volunteerism can help unemployed individuals find work

 

GIVE


While Millennials can’t necessarily donate large lump sums, they are more willing to give monthly and/or solicit donations on an organization’s behalf. This informs one of the Millennials' biggest pet peeves: "constantly being asked for money or help" (69% of respondents). A solution is to offer a variety of giving options (spoiler alert: telemarketing is not one of those options). A rising trend has been the requesting of donations in lieu of personal gifts. “This trend is worth watching (and capitalizing on) as social networks enable and facilitate such giving with greater reach and speed.”

Visit www.TheMillennialImpact.com to read the full report, view the infographics, and watch website usability reviews.

Tommy Pearce is Communications Coordinator at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

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