By Lauryn Rosinski – Marketing and PR Account Coordinator
Let’s face it: In this day and age, millennials get a bad rap. I have personally heard the following statements about Generation Y from a variety of demographics:
“Millennials are selfish.”
“Millennials are lazy and unmotivated.”
“Millennials eat too much avocado toast.”
While I will admit that many of my friends and I have enjoyed large quantities of avocado toast, the other statements could not be further from the truth. In fact, research shows that millennials want to give back and change the world around them. Because of this, many industries can benefit from what millennials have to offer.
Nonprofits are among the sectors that can be positively impacted by “Generation Now.” Here are some reasons why millennials are the future of philanthropic donating – and why nonprofit organizations should reach out to them.
#1: Millennials donate time and money.
This might be shocking to some readers. After all, millennials are oftentimes using their money and resources in order to pay off student loans, find affordable housing and seek a well-paying job.
However, it is true. Millennials are volunteering and contributing to the nonprofits they care about – and they are making a big difference.
According to the most recent Millennial Impact Report, 52 percent of the millennials surveyed made a charitable donation within the month. The same report showed that millennials are more likely to increase their giving year-over-year compared with other age groups. Finally, 46 percent of millennials volunteered for a cause they cared about within the past month.
These statistics show that millennials are willingly giving to nonprofit organizations they care about. The report also reveals that, although millennials might not be able to initially contribute much financially, their contributions increase as time goes on. Therefore, nonprofits should take the opportunity and market to these audiences.
#2: Millennials use social media.
Social media has changed the way we communicate with one another. Channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have made it possible for individuals and organizations to reach audiences they would not have been able to in the past. Nonprofits have reaped the benefits of increased social media usage by advertising events, encouraging donations and sharing stories.
They should also use it to market directly to millennials. According to the Pew Research Center, a whopping 90 percent of millennials use social media. And they use it for more than sharing memes and dog videos.
Millennials use their platforms to engage with friends and amplify their voices regarding social issues. According to the Millennial Impact Report, 51 percent of millennials use their social media accounts to take action when it comes to causes that they care about. By engaging with this generation, nonprofits have the opportunity to find audiences that care about their key messages.
Although it is important to reach out to millennials on social media, nonprofits cannot merely tweet, “Donate now” and expect results. Millennials crave human interest stories and depth behind content. In fact, 60 percent of millennials enjoy reading nonprofit’s successes and how they positively affect the individuals they serve.
An anonymous person once said, “The essence of social media is knowing your audiences and engaging them in something they love.” If nonprofits create the right content and direct it toward millennials, they would effectively tell their stories, share their call to actions and, therefore, be more successful in the online world.
#3: Millennials are the largest generation.
We have all heard the classic saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Members of nonprofit organizations understand this sentiment better than anyone. In order for a mission to be a successful, a nonprofit needs people on their side.
Well, the millennial generation is one big village. In fact, it is the biggest village.
According to the United States Census Bureau, there are approximately 83.1 million millennials in the U.S. In 2016, the number of millennials surpassed that of the Baby Boomers. The larger a generation is, the more influence it will have on society. Due to its sheer size, the millennial generation will completely change the country and the issues surrounding it.
This is good news for nonprofits.
#4: Millennials want to help others.
In order to determine if the “me generation” really is as self-centered as people say, the University of New South Wales conducted an experiment on millennials. Researchers put headsets on the participants, which studied their brainwave activities. The participants were then asked a series of “Would You Rather” questions, including:
“Would you rather take a selfie with an Instagram star and a quiche, or share a bit of your grandma’s famous quiche with your friends?”
“Would you rather be one of the first to have a blue algae latte with random people, or have tea and a meaningful chat with your mom?”
These questions encompassed a larger issue: Do millennials prefer activities and topics that relate to their own self-interests or do they prefer activities and topics that involve others?
The results of the experiment may shock you.
Yes, millennials would rather have a cup of tea with their mother than a trendy drink with strangers. The study also revealed that millennials would rather give food to someone in need, raise money for charity and volunteer at a soup kitchen than have a large number of social media followers, fame and selfies.
Now, you might be wondering: “How does this help nonprofits?”
This research study showed that millennials have a desire to help others and make a difference. Nonprofits are constantly in search of donors and volunteers with the drive and enthusiasm that millennials have. If nonprofits were to create relationships with this generation, both parties would mutually benefit.
In short, everybody wins.
Millennials are the future of this country, whether it is because there are so many of them or because they are influential both online and off. However, they are not just the future… they care about the future.
If nonprofits work with millennials, they will not just create donors and volunteers. They will create partners and brand ambassadors, who will use their time, energy and passion to influence change and inspire others through your nonprofit’s mission.
We promise that we will put down our avocado toast in order to do so.