Some might say that it isn’t necessary at this stage of the game for charitable organizations to revamp their fundraising strategies in order to appeal to young people, since generally older adults give more often and in larger amounts. That would be shortsighted.
Generation X and Generation Y together account for 31 percent of the estimated $143.6 billion to be raised in 2013. These 18 to 48 year olds represent a chunk of the pie roughly equal to $44.5 billion, and that is worth pursuing.
However, traditional strategies are not as effective for reaching these young adults. Their motivations, demands, and preferred methods for charitable giving are markedly different from older generations.
Generation X and Generation Y donors feel more connected to the global, multicultural community beyond their own cities and country. They are technologically savvy, and increasingly choose to interface with the world through virtual means. These young people also have less disposable income than their Baby Boomer parents. They want to know how your organization is going to use their hard-earned money and what measurable difference their donation is going to make.
Here are four fundraising tips for appealing to young adults:
1) Use social media channels to cultivate engagement rather than transactions.
This is a great way to get them excited about your organization. You should be using social media to:
1.1) Keep young adults updated on projects
1.2) Engage them in conversations about relevant topics
1.3) Invite them to attend related events
However, social media is not an effective channel for gathering donations. Only 8 percent of Generation Y donors and 10 percent of Generation X donors have made a donation through a social networking site in the last two years.
2) Make it easy to donate on your website.
Being able to easily donate through a trusted credit card processor online is extremely important to young adults who are unlikely to drop a check in the mail.
3) Show them which project their dollars will go into and follow up with results.
Design your website so that it is possible to donate to a specific project. Provide a short narrative and pictures about the project. After they have donated, send them a short follow up with updates on the progress of the project and any inspirational success stories.
4) Issue a specific call to action via social media.
One successful method is to create a deadline for a short term online event. Generate awareness and excitement beforehand by talking about it on social networking sites and encouraging your followers to spread the word. This is known as a “money bomb”, and has worked with great effect in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, notably for Ron Paul and President Obama. This idea will be explored further in a future blog post.
Young adults want to engage with charitable causes, and with these tips, your organization will be able to effectively tap into the incredible energy and enthusiasm that the members of Generation X and Generation Y bring to the table.