As nonprofits approach the end of a fiscal year and gear up to begin a new one, fundraising campaigns are top of mind. This is the time of year when capital campaigns are launched and invitations to gala events are sent to loyal supporters.
A recent study, titled The Next Generation of American Giving, cites that the majority of fundraising targets older, more mature donors, but this segment of the population is quickly shrinking. Nonprofits are going to be forced to attract a new generation of donors. Generation Y, or the Millenniums, is a growing segment of the population with more than 71 million people compared to the 41 million Generation Xers before them.
The study also reports that matures give, on average, $1,066 per year to 6.3 charities, while baby boomers give $901 per year to 5.2 charities. Generation X gives $796 on average to 4.2 charities, and Generation Y gives $341 to 3.6 charities.
So the question is, how do we persuade Generation Y to give more? Consider the following recommendations to help attract young donors:
1) Host events that appeal to younger audiences. Each year, Allied Arts hosts their “ARTini” fundraiser, an event inspired by dedicated young professionals in the Oklahoma City metro area. This year, the event raised more than $20,000 to support arts programs in central Oklahoma.
2) Reserve a seat for them at the table. Set aside designated seats on committees and boards for young professionals. Get them excited about your cause. Vilakazi, a foundation focused on improving the lives of South African children by helping provide more access to education, health and athletics, is an organization motivated and started by young individuals. Their entire board is made up of individuals under the age of 35. Last month, Vilakazi hosted an event, Wine for Wickets, with affordable tickets starting at $25 to draw a younger crowd.
3) Encourage small giving. It’s important to promote consistent giving. Every little bit counts, even if it’s just $10 a month. The United Way of Central Oklahoma encourages contributions as small as $5 a month, which is less intimidating for a young professional who is trying to establish a sound financial base. It’s also important to highlight volunteer opportunities for those who can’t afford to give just yet. Chances are, they will start to contribute when they can.
4) Communicate with them on their own terms. Social media is a great way to reach different generation segments. Frequently update your Facebook and Twitter. Keep your supporters engaged, and provide them with a platform to respond and interact with your organization.
5) Offer different ways to donate. In an always-connected world, it’s important for nonprofits to offer different methods by which to give, such as text messages, online, automatic withdrawal, etc. The recent Haiti earthquake provoked a wave of text contributions. The American Red Cross launched a viral campaign to collect contributions, totaling more than $8 million only weeks following the disaster.
By applying these simple strategies, nonprofits can attract younger patrons who will help sustain their organization before it’s time for the next generation to step in.