Thoughts

Followup Q&A from our Techsoup Webinar

Recently, we partnered with TechSoup and presented a webinar entitled “8 ways to get millennials and Gen Z to give.” In case you missed it, you can check that out here.

After the webinar, we were flooded with questions that we, unfortunately, ran out of time to answer. We didn’t want these incredible questions to go forgotten, so we decided to share them on the blog! Take a look below!

1. What is your best fundraiser event idea?

Your best fundraisers are the ones that engage others in your brand’s mission―beyond clicking the donate button. 

Think about how today’s experiential marketing strategies are transforming the landscape of traditional marketing, and how you can rework this inspiration within the nonprofit space. See here for some examples we like. Whether in a rented hall, the streets, or even online, these methods inject a level of playful interaction, allowing donors to enter your story as a key player.

When budget is a concern, look to exploring partnerships with local brands and performers, who’d benefit from the publicity of being affiliated with a philanthropic cause. This is key with millennials and Gen Z, as they are more likely to support brands who give back themselves…

2. Is it tough to get millennials and Gen Z to get involved with problems or organizations they haven’t experienced, but might?

Past generations were more cause driven, supporting local orgs they had a personal connection with, such as a school, community program, or religious institution. But as technology has evolved and united us, the world has become that much closer. Everything today is “local.” 

This is good and bad. Problems may seem closer, but our belief in our ability to solve them is much more prevalent. This gives you the chance to get donors to care about what you do―even if they haven’t faced this issue in their own lives. Tap into this belief and be transparent about the impact they’re making through you.


3. We’re a small non profit operating remotely without an office. What’s the best way to share in “real time” in these situations?

Real time isn’t about geography. Sure, it’s great when you have a centralized location such as a school or animal shelter, but you shouldn’t feel limited if you’re running digitally or remotely. If anything, you can be more creative. Think about ways to share ideas and personalities in real time, not just videos of events or photos of people all in the same room.

I really like the Extra Life Campaign powered by twitch, which engages the global gaming community with a live-stream, gaming event to raise money for kids with serious illnesses and injuries. To date, these gamers have raised over $50,000,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

4. Any recommendations on words or intriguing comments to attract donors online?

Always check in with what’s being said in the space. Not to copy what’s been done, but to re-interpret, build, or subvert adjacent themes. Stay current with the latest campaigns at adcouncil.org

I always recommend creating a storyboard of words and visuals that speak to you before starting a campaign or writing a website. In all your materials, imagine you are writing to a good friend. Even better, have that person (or two) in mind. This way, you’ll avoid typical, advertising language and sound more like a human being. As always, clarity is top priority. You want your readers to know what to do.

5.If your non-profit is religious in nature, is there any advice in reaching today’s generation and inspiring them to join in?

We work with many religious orgs. In every case, we advise not to water down the message to attract younger donors. It’s a cheap trick that will ultimately backfire. 

Instead, find common ground in religious ideas. Make them curious to look deeper into it, as opposed to diluting it to fit differing life perspectives. Consider your first point of contact as a means to engage their need for purpose as a fellow human being. When we’re younger, this is the time we begin to think about meaning and aligning our passions with some greater good. Create opportunities for young people to get involved and give back.

One org I’ve worked with, which achieves this balance quite well, is Exodus Cry―a religious oriented org that combats human trafficking and the commercial sex industry. 

6. Do the same concepts that work for millennials and Gen Z for donations also work for getting them to show up and volunteer in person?

Yes. They often lead to each other, as many of these tactics will engage them first as volunteers, then, later, as donors. Or vice versa.

Where these tactics diverge somewhat is in areas of lifestyle giving (seen with brands like STATE Bags and TOMS), in which consumers will choose socially conscious products (that support your org), instead of making a direct donation. In these cases, holding a partnership event, where people can meet you and take that next step toward a more personal impact is key. 

7. What’s a good way to balance opportunities to donate, while avoiding donor oversaturation?

At the outset of your next campaign, map out an arc of communication for social media, email, and print. Don’t forget to include brand ambassadors who will be posting on your behalf and where they will be most active. 

Choose items to share that are native to each platform. This will enable you to highlight various aspects of your story and people, rather than repeating the same language on every platform.

8. How does a non profit that is required to follow a strict format for fundraising events use the Charidy method?

When embarking on something new that challenges the status quo, it’s important to highlight the potential results. Get your research in order, show your board the data, and don’t be afraid to push the envelope. If you’re doing the same thing all the time, you’re never going to grow.

9. Do you have any tips on how to get college students to give monthly?

Depending on the type of org you run, and your relationship with students, your strategies will change. If you are not a university, provide a college-budget friendly donation package that is super transparent about what that $15/month provides. For example, my almost twelve year old daughter personally subscribes to a monthly subscription to Batey Rehab Project

Start looking to even younger demographics as early as elementary school, by giving them a chance to get involved in some way, so that by the time they’re in college, being a conscientious giver is already natural. By targeting younger audiences, you simultaneously engage their parents and teachers.

10. How should nonprofits create messaging to familiarize Gen Z and millennials with issues in their own community, when these populations are generally concerned with larger national or international issues, like health care or climate change?

Don’t look at your community-specific issue as a drawback in messaging. Celebrate it! While younger generations are indeed more inclined to support greater, global impact, you have the advantage by getting them involved in person. And because these people are local, they can see how their actions make a difference right away. Hold regular (and non-fundraiser centric) events where they can work with you in different ways to see their efforts yield real and immediate results.