Technology savvy Millennials, people aged 20-33, are not interested in institutions and organizations. They support non-profits because they care about the issues, not because of who we are.
This is one of the most interesting findings of a recent non-profit research study that provides some invaluable insights into this generation. According to the The Millennial Impact Report nearly three-quarters of Gen Y-ers volunteered for a nonprofit in 2012, but most Millennials were motivated by passion for the cause and showed little interest in the institutions themselves. If true, it may be that in the near future we may need to change the way we think about branding.
It is commonly believed that increased visibility, recognition and favorable public perception of the brand translates into fundraising success, but the results of this survey suggest that Millennials may be ushering in a new era devoid of nonprofit “brand loyalty.” That while branding is likely to be of continued importance it may be of less significance in the future, and that concentrating our communications around our positioning may actually be detrimental to our efforts.
While this will require a change in how we think about our organisations and how we communicate about ourselves, for smaller charities this may have significant benefits, as the next generation of philanthropists focus on the impacts of the organisation and the causes they represent rather than recognition of the brand.
Talk about the cause, not the organisation
As this report shows, concentrating communications around the cause is more effective way to motivate Millenials to get involved. Nearly four in five Millennials noted their main motivation for supporting nonprofits was because they felt passionate about the cause (Tweet this stat!). We should therefore focus our communications around the problems we are solving.
— Save the Children (@SavetheChildren) August 11, 2013
Share wonderful content about the cause
As they have an interest in the cause it is critical to provide valuable content about this subject on your website. Nonprofits are in the perfect position to provide insight into the these issues andprovide the type of stories that Millenials are interested in. Through sharing content they are interested in we have an opportunity to engage with them and earn their support.
Show them how they have made a difference
Millenials want to see tangible results, they want to know how they can make a difference. To get them to support your cause you need to communicate what you have been able to achieve with their help by sharing the outcomes of your work and the influence they have had. According to the report 49% of Millennials are most likely to give when they can see the impact their gift will have. (Tweet this stat!)
As part of the Dig Dig campaign Water Aid used Instagram to show supporters who they were helping and share progress through pictures of the wells being built with their support.
Showing supporters what has been made possible with their help provides you with an opportunity to show others how their help can make a similar difference.This is connected to a broader opportunity to engage with supporters by showing them the tangible outcomes and achievements of your organisation.
Most of all do this by sharing stories about people
For a social cause campaign to be successful, it has to make people feel strongly enough that they’ll be compelled to get involved. While it’s great to give people facts and data about why your cause is so important, when it comes to inspiring action, we need to share stories about the people who are affected by the problems we are seeking to remedy.
Not surprisingly, 60 percent of Millennials like to read stories about successful projects or the people they helped. This could be through storing stories, photos of projects being completed, videos or messages about what you have been able to achieve with their support.
People are moved by stories. Stories enable us to understand and relate to situations that are outside of our normal experiences. When we use them to share the dramatic and often moving circumstances of the people we help we can make people understand what we do, not as an idea, but as something experienced. Our charities are filled with amazing stories, we just need to develop them into content that people love and love to share
People will care more if they can relate to what you do on a personal level. By conveying the facts through a real story about real people or animals or circumstances that others can follow, understand, and care about, you’re automatically giving them more reason to be invested in the cause at the heart of the story. Make them feel something, it doesn’t matter if you make them feel happy or sad, but making them feel something is essential.
— World Food Programme (@WFP) July 10, 2013
Perhaps the most important thing you need to do is convince them that their efforts are worthwhile. There are a lot of good causes out there so you need to show people that they can make a difference and that their support will have a real impact. Show them what they have achieved by sharing the outcomes of the projects they have funded. Talk about the cause and share interesting information, this is a subject that they are passionate about and it is through that interest that you can persuade them to participate in your work.