Posted by Jay Wilkinson

Younger people may not have as much giving power as older generations, but studies show they’re at least as generous. According to the Giving USA 2014 report, the majority of millennials (about 60%) donate to charitable organizations. Other sources, like the 2013 Millennial Impact Report, come to similar conclusions. Nearly 70% of millennials are willing to fundraise for a nonprofit, and 64% already fundraise for walk/run/cycling events.

It’s no secret the millennial generation has a charitable bent. In fact, did you know that the largest generation working in the nonprofit sector right now is Generation Y? Volunteering is simply a way of life for these folks; they’ve been doing it for years. Many of them went to schools where community service was required. This generation wants to make a difference.

All of that said, it’s important that your organization understands how to reach this generation now rather than later. Get them on board with your cause while they’re young, and you could have a supporter for life.

Here are six ways to attract Gen Y to your organization.

  1. Make your mission compelling and your cause clear. Millennials tend to rally around causes, not institutions. They don’t care who your organization is as much as they care what you do—they take action for causes they’re passionate about. It’s up to your organization to educate them about your cause, why it’s important and how supporting your programs can make a tangible impact. Compelling videos and photos, figures and stats, real life stories and infographics all work well.
  2. Prioritize your website design. Once a prospective donor hits your website, it takes a split-second for them to form an opinion. According to research from Missouri University of Science and Technology, people form a first impression of a website in less than two-tenths of a second.

    Clean, intuitive design can help draw in site visitors immediately. On the other hand, poor design can make them bounce. One study found that 94% of the reasons visitors reject or mistrust a site related to design. If you develop an attractive website that’s easy to navigate, you’ll connect instantly with young supporters. According to the 2013 Millennial Impact Report, respondents were turned off by nonprofit websites that were hard to navigate and didn’t immediately highlight the organization’s “who, what and why.”
  3. Embrace mobile. Let’s face it: Smartphones aren’t going anywhere, and users are now accessing the internet more on mobile devices than they are on computers. The Millennial Impact Report found that 76% of users get frustrated when trying to navigate nonprofit websites that don’t show up well on mobile devices. Your takeaway: Design your website to adapt to any screen so supporters can engage with you wherever they are. Make this a high priority for 2016 if you haven’t done so yet.
  4. Communicate with them on their terms and offer a variety of ways to donate. Since millennials like to connect through social media, it’s important for your nonprofit to establish a solid social media presence. You don’t have to post, tweet and share 24/7, but you should at least show up and be available for engagement. Millennials may look to connect with you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter before they look anywhere else. As for their giving habits, younger givers gravitate toward online donations. But event fundraising, monthly debit programs and mobile/text donations can work as important giving methods as well.
  5. Encourage volunteering. Gen Y is a generous generation, no doubt, but not just with their finances. Millennial philanthropists are broadening the definition of philanthropy to include not only monetary gifts, but contributions of time. Remember: This generation grew up with community service as a norm. Keep this in mind when you think about looking for your next generation of donors. Volunteers often turn into consistent donors.
  6. Engage, engage, engage. Millennials grew up interacting with brands—traditional advertising where a brand simply talks at the consumer is foreign to them. They want communication to be a two-way street. The internet and social media has given everyone a platform, actually, and millennials are especially comfortable voicing their opinion. They want to engage in conversations, and they’ll converse with their peers, their social networks and their colleagues with or without you—so it makes sense for you to be open to engaging with them. Use social media, your website, fundraising events, volunteer opportunities and any other engagement tool to forge relationships with this civic-minded generation. Now is the perfect time to win their hearts and their loyalty.

Your website must do a great job telling your story and allowing millennials to engage. Finding the perfect balance of website beauty and brains is where Firespring comes in. By effectively combining design and functionality, your website can help you build relationships with constituents. Learn more by calling 877.447.8941 or email