Mon, July 14 2014
(Part two in our series on the Millennial Impact Project)
Millennials: A powerful force for change.
Earlier this month, I shared my perspectives on the 2014 Millennial Impact Report and MCON14. Hopefully, that post got you thinking about how Millennials are shaping our culture and social sector in profound new ways.
As a refresher, this is a summary from Derrick Feldmann, President of Achieve, on the growing significance and power of Millennials:
Approximately 80 million Millennials live in the U.S. today. Collectively, they spend about $300 billion annually on consumer discretionary goods. And by the year 2020, they will make up 50% of the workforce.
Soon, Millennials will no longer be the “next generation;” rather, they will be the majority of your co-workers and employees. [And I’d add, the majority of your donors and supporters.]
Millennials are building a culture that knows how it feels to contribute to a cause and attempt to solve social issues…It is not overstating to say that a big part of the nonprofit sector’s future relies on its ability to respond to these young people’s charitable inclinations.
Invite them. Inspire them. Seven steps to get started.
How do you begin to engage Millennials? Here are seven ways you can bring Millennial energy, innovation and advocacy to your organization.
1. Bring Millennials onto your team. Hire Millennials. Invite one or two to join your board. Even if you have a give/get for board members, encourage Millennials to run a race or do a crowdfunding campaign as a way to fulfill their commitment. They’re worth it. With their robust social networks, youthful passion and idealism, they can contribute in ways that are more important than money. Think of Millennial team members as beacons that can shine a light on your organization with huge networks of friends, family and colleagues.
2. Inspire with images and video. Shift your marketing focus from facts and data to people and impact stories. Check out how our client, the United Way of Central Maryland uses a beautiful image and video to present a clear, simple fundraising message. Click here for a guide to using visuals effectively.
3. Enlist with emotion on social channels. Inspire young supporters to share your mission by capturing their attention in your social channels with emotion: empathy, humor, pain, triumph. Investments in photography and video can pay big dividends, as inspiring content is more likely to be shared. The campaign of actress Lauren Luke, Don’t Cover it Up, inspired women, especially Millennials, to confront partner violence, not to “cover it up.”
4. Empower them to get involved, not just to give. Inspire Millennials to volunteer based on their top motivators for getting involved: Passion (79%); Meeting people (56%); Gaining expertise (46%). Get them involved through activism, professional groups, and leadership opportunities. The United Way of Central Maryland has built a passionate base of Millennial supporters with its Emerging Leaders United program, by focusing on these motivations.
5. Focus on your website. Meet Millennials where they are: online (and on their phones). With the rise of social media, many organizations focus their online outreach, updates, and photos on these platforms, often neglecting their core website. Your website is the center of your online universe - the sun to your orbiting social media planets. And leaving out of date or generic information on a website is a major turn-off for Millennials, and everyone else!.
Also, your website has to be mobile-friendly. 87% of Millennials are carrying smartphones everyday. A mobile-friendly online environment will keep mobile users engaged and enable impulsive action from an impulsive generation.
6. Launch a monthly giving program. One of the hottest trends in philanthropy mirrors a trend we see in consumer purchasing: the growth in subscription giving. According to the report, 52% of Millennials are interested in giving monthly. A small monthly gift can really add up over months and years. Here are some recommendations on how to start your monthly giving program.
7. Move them to action by ASKING. You’re changing lives every day. And everyday you need support. Millennials want to be inspired, to inspire others, and to make a big impact with their actions and generosity. Tell them how they can help: start a fundraising page, sign a petition, recruit volunteers, host an event, join your leadership. It starts with an ask.
Fri, July 11 2014
Filed under: Fundraising essentials •
We recently asked our nonprofit Learning Center community about their biggest fundraising challenges. These fundraisers and marketers overwhelmingly indicated that acquiring new donors was the biggest challenge, with 61% choosing this as their top issue, followed by diversifying funding sources (16%), donor retention (9%), and increasing demand/staff constraints (both coming in at 7%).
There’s a lot that goes into a successful donor acquisition strategy. Once you have a strong marketing plan in place, it’s important to understand how to effectively tell your nonprofit’s story and make the case for giving to actually convert your target audience into donors. We have two free guides that will help you do just that:
What’s your biggest fundraising challenge and how are you working to solve it? Share your story in the comments below and we’ll feature selected responses in an upcoming post.
Wed, July 02 2014
You feel it. I feel it. Every nonprofit communicator and fundraiser out there feels it. Social media pressure, that is.
Whether the source of this anxiety (Am I keeping up? Do I have a billion Facebook likes or Twitter followers? Is my Instagram strategy driving action?) is your immediate boss, board chair, or colleague in programs, it’s there. The pressure to generate a social media miracle.
Breathe—There Is a Solution
You can boost marketing and fundraising impact, and you can deflate that pressure. Here’s how:
1. Get to know your people. Research, via online survey or calls, where your current supporters are when it comes to social media.
2. Use your marketing/fundraising plan to remind yourself exactly who your prospects are (the people who are most likely to take the actions that will drive your marketing or fundraising goals forward). Then, use your supporter research to project where similar prospect groups are on social media.
3. Assess if and where to invest in social media, even if your organization has been there for years. Probe whether the most-used social media channels are useful in helping you achieve your broader goals. Ask yourself two questions: Does the interaction in that channel mesh with your calls to action and goals? Is your investment in each of the most-used channels likely to be profitable?
4. Focus your energy and time on the single most-used channel, but only if the return on investment (ROI) seems to be there. Note: It will be far more effective to use one platform well, rather than use multiple platforms in a half-baked way. That’s been proven time and time again.
5. Invest the time. Block out at least 30 minutes, twice daily, for social media if you are using just one platform. I urge you to get that one channel to work—or realize it’s the wrong one—before you take on another platform.
6. Create some incremental benchmarks so you get a sense of how your investment is or is not paying off. That might be retweets and followers for Twitter or likes and shares for Facebook. Request that your colleagues ask those who do take action—to give, register, or spread the word—what influences sparked them along the way.
7. Like or follow five to 10 colleague or competitive organizations on that channel, be it Facebook or Instagram. It’s important to see what folks who are competing for your supporters’ and prospects’ attention and dollars are doing. You can also find some relevant models by watching what organizations similar to yours in approach or issue—but not competing with you—are doing.
8. Adapt your approach as needed on an ongoing basis. Build into your work plan an ongoing analysis of what is and isn’t working, a review of other organizations’ successes and failures, and a revision of your own approach. Social media, including websites and blogs, is a communications channel that requires ongoing evolution. Otherwise, don’t use it.
Take these steps to make your social media efforts meaningful and measurable for your nonprofit. How are you making social media matter for your cause? Chime in with your ideas below! Also, don’t miss Social Media for Nonprofits when this conference comes to Washington, DC on July 14. Register now with code “N4G” to save up to $30.
With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org.
Tue, July 01 2014
Filed under: Nonprofit leadership •
Editor’s note: I’m pleased to introduce Network for Good’s Chief Giving Officer, Jamie McDonald, as a contributor to The Nonprofit Marketing Blog. Jamie will be sharing her insight on philanthropy and trends in giving, as well as updates from the field.
During this year’s Millennial Impact Forum (also known as MCON), thousands of leaders in philanthropy, social enterprise, and technology joined together for two days of inspiration from our next generation of leaders. MCON takes place on the heels of the release of the Millennial Impact Report, an annual look at the Millennial generation and the ground they are staking out as they mature into adulthood.
Derrick Feldmann, President of Achieve, the researchers behind the Millennial Impact Project, said in his opening remarks, “We don’t study Millennials because they’re a part of the culture. We study them because they’re defining the culture.”
Here are a few juicy facts from the report:
- By the year 2020, Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce
- 91% of the female Millennials surveyed donated money to charities, and 84% of the male Millennials had donated
- Nearly half (47%) of the Millennials surveyed had volunteered for a cause or nonprofit in the past month.
- 22% of Millennials surveyed gave more than $500 to nonprofits in 2013 and 12% gave more than $1,000.
Transforming the Nonprofit Culture
During MCON, transformational young leaders shared their perspectives on giving—and living meaningfully—in a connected world. The conference centered on the key lessons learned since launching the research in 2010:
1. Millennials engage with causes to help other people, not institutions. And, they prefer to perform smaller actions before fully committing to a cause.
2. Millennials are influenced by the decisions and behaviors of their peers. Peer influence plays an important role in motivating Millennials to volunteer, attend events, participate in programs, and give.
3. Millennials treat their time, money, and assets as having equal value. Millennials view both their network and their voice as two additional types of assets they can offer a cause. Aided by technology, an individual who donates his or her voice may still give skills, time, and money.
4. Millennials need to experience a cause’s work without having to be on site. In 2013, more than 60% of respondents said they felt most invested in a cause when the nonprofit shared a compelling story about successful projects or the people it helps.
Throughout the conference, I noted three other key themes that should get you thinking:
- Millennials are seeking authenticity, and they are skeptical of ‘press-release’ good news, without human stories and data to back it up.
- They believe in the power of technology to drive real community change.
- Millennials do not see boundaries between work/play/family. As Jean Case related from a recent conversation with a Millennial, “I want to bring my full self to everything I’m about.” So employers, nonprofits, brands and Millennials are joined together in a cycle of engagement that unifies them in a way that did not exist in prior generations.
The Future of the Social Sector
As a nonprofit leader, why should you focus on Millennials, whose resources are small relative to their older counterparts? It’s simple. They have the power to generate passion, engagement and donations for your cause. (And, in less than 5 years, the oldest among them will be moving into major donor income levels.)
The strategies for engaging Millennials are no longer just preferences. They have become the norm for effective communication with all ages. As Derrick Feldmann puts it, “It is not overstating to say that a big part of the nonprofit sector’s future relies on its ability to respond to these young people’s charitable inclinations.”
Ready to recruit and engage Millennial talent for your organization? Download our free guide.
Mon, June 30 2014
Filed under: Fun stuff •
Across the country and around the globe our nonprofit partners are changing the world every day. Our Nonprofit of the Week series helps us spotlight the great things these organizations are doing to serve their mission. Take a look at how this month’s featured organizations are improving their communities:
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore isn’t just a place to come and visit lion cubs Zuri, Leia, and Luke, and a growing community of African penguins—it’s an organization working hard on behalf of wildlife and wild places worldwide. By focusing on participating in global wildlife conservation efforts and creating dynamic educational opportunities in Baltimore, the Maryland Zoo is working hard on behalf of wildlife and wild places worldwide.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley provides a home away from home for the families of children receiving critical medical treatment at local hospitals. By creating a place of community and respite the RMHC of the Ohio Valley truly cares for families in times of crisis.
Families First of the Greater Seacoast is a community health center offering high-quality care for all members of New Hampshire’s Seacoast, regardless of their ability to pay. For the past 30 years Families First has been expanding their mission and services to create a healthier and happier community.
Join us in celebrating and thanking these amazing causes!