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Year-End Giving: ‘Tis the season for Millennials

They are young, hip and trendy.  They do everything online and many can be spotted walking or biking to work or getting on and off the subway with earbuds in and eyes cast downward on their phones. They are the Millennial generation, adults ages 18 to 34, and they may be casual but they are also generous, kind and purposeful, and every nonprofit needs them.  Lauren Sims, CURE Childhood Cancer’s Director of Development, is a Millennial and offers “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to reaching this generation.

  1. Do have a message that communicates the change you want to create. The Millennial generation wants to have an impact and help create change. They look to support organizations which have a mission they can get behind to try and make a difference. Quite simply, Millennials want to be motivated and be inspired.  Don’t just ask for a $25.00 to help your nonprofit help others – instead invite them to donate $25 to purchase a gas card that will help a family get their child to the hospital for cancer treatment.
  2. Don’t take shortcuts because they will take notice. Millennials have grown up on the Internet with history, context, and fast research available within seconds. They do their homework and they want know how you spend the dollars raised. In other words, they want to be sure, if they choose to donate to your nonprofit, that they are giving wisely.
  3. Do offer small ways, big ways and ongoing ways to donate. Millennials may be inspired by a number of causes and, if so, will donate smaller amounts to a few – so be prepared. Suggest small and medium amounts to donate along with the chance to “check-off” how they want that money used beyond just helping the organization to “fulfill the mission.” Millennials will respond to actual examples. For instance, if a gift of $500 could help feed 50 patients and their families while they are in the hospital, millennials may be inspired to give that amount, knowing what it is “buying” rather than spreading their giving around multiple organizations and having less of an impact.
  4. Don’t hide your bonafides. Millennials like credentials and want to know that you are a strong, reputable nonprofit. Put your IRS Form 990 and Audited Financial Statements on your website.  Provide links to charity watchdogs GuideStar and/or Charity Navigator.
  1. Do encourage your Millennial givers to get involved. When you thank your Millennial donor, include an invitation to an upcoming event to meet the people who have been impacted by their gift. Let them see first-hand how they have made a difference in people’s lives. The more passionate Millennials feel, the more committed they will become.

The Millennial generation want to make a difference so make sure they know how their year-end giving can make a big difference for your organization!  While it is critical to reach out to your existing database of committed, loyal donors – make sure you open up your messaging to attract this new generation. They care and so should you.

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About Kristin Connor

Kristin Connor is Executive Director of CURE Childhood Cancer, an Atlanta-based national non-profit which funds research to find a cure and effective treatments for children's cancer and supports programs for patients and families fighting the disease. In 2015-2016, CURE Childhood Cancer awarded 2.5 Million in grant monies to healthcare research institutions working on new treatments leading to a cure for childhood cancer.