How to Capture the Heart of Millennials – In Philanthropy

The world is paying much closer attention to millennials – in business, politics, and even, in philanthropy. This trend is largely because of the population, reach, clout, and giving patterns of millennials.

In Africa, millennials are close to 70% of the continent’s population and as digital natives, their influence is far-reaching. They do not work in silos; they bring friends and form alliances for causes they believe in. Given these dynamics, it is important for non-profit organizations and foundations to win the hearts of millennials so they can play a much bigger role in African philanthropy. Here’s how:

  1. Online presence: Having your organization’s presence on the internet and being interactive on social media is the starting point of attracting a millennial. Witty and graphic posts, twitter chats using relevant hashtags, and engaging in cause-related marketing are some ways to better showcase your organization’s work. However, your internet presence may not mean much to millennials if you can’t provide evidence of your work. Organizations that provide information about their work and how they achieve their mission; show compelling pictures and videos of success stories are likely to draw millennials in to support them. Providing an online donation platform is also a sure way to get contributions from millennials.
  2. Transparent operations: A straightforward strategy on how resources achieve impact appeals to millennials. Organizations that publish online financial reports or make them available to members or subscribers are a big hit. It resonates with millennials because it is linked to their desire for honesty and transparency. More importantly, it makes them more committed to support your organization because they believe in your work and feel confident enough to share it with their friends and family. But remember, millennials typically do not identify with organizations, they identify with causes.
  3. Volunteer opportunities: Millennials who give are typically more hands-on in giving compared to previous generations. They see themselves as agents of change and organizations as the mediums through which change happens. Whether it is through fundraising, or volunteering, they are consistent, involved, and they put their time and money where their heart is – they give to causes they are passionate about. If you want consistent support, craft opportunities for millennials to use their time, energy, and enthusiasm to chase their passion, while working to achieve your mission.

Of course, none of these would be possible without great leadership – an essential ingredient to building a sustainable philanthropic organization. So, tell us what you think – has your organization used any of these strategies to draw in millennial donors or volunteers? Were you successful? Are there other ways to get young people to be involved in philanthropy?

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