Posts Tagged ‘Millennnials’

Engage the “next greatest generation”

“Even though Millennials are the next generation of donors and constituents, leaders spend far more resources focused on maintaining their existing supporters rather than trying to cultivate new ones—so much so, that they cannot see beyond their current donor strategies and systems to a future where those supporters are no longer around,” assert the Cause for Change coauthors, Karatovsky and Feldmann.

There is a reason the authors call Millennials the “next greatest generation.” They stand to inherit the largest transfer of wealth; they are larger in size than the Boomer generation; they were raised on community service; and they put their money where their mouths are—with speed and efficiency online, no less.

Nonprofit leaders cannot afford to put next generation engagement on the back burner. Millennials stand to positively affect the world around them, so much so that organizations that waffle will be left behind. We asked Karatovsky and Feldmann a question about their engagement platform and about managing expectations in our interview. Feldmann answered these two particular questions.

CausePlanet: Your Millennial Engagement Platform is a central framework you touch on throughout the book. Will you explain why this framework is important for your readers to apply and its relationship to culture?

Feldmann: It was important for us to provide readers with actionable steps to be Millennial-ready. Regardless of size or resources, every organization can adopt certain strategies to take the first step in connecting with Millennials. After this initial connection, the organization can develop deeper and more meaningful engagement that ultimately builds toward culture change within institutions. We structured the Millennial Engagement Platform on a set of principles we call BUILD. An organization must: 1) Be unified as an organization in working with this generation. 2) Understand the complexities of this generation’s environment. 3) Identify those seeking to make a difference. 4) Lead through engagement rather than participation. 5) Determine what Millennial success looks like to your organization.

CausePlanet: What are the best ways to manage (board and executive) expectations when it comes to Millennial engagement and/or fundraising campaigns?

Feldman: Boards should look at Millennial engagement from a lens of participation and action rather than dollars. I know this is not the answer most boards want to hear. Before estimating potential dollars raised, we should focus on how many will like or retweet campaign messaging, share it with their peers and ultimately give. We know Millennials are giving in small amounts to roughly five organizations every year. Therefore, the goal should be for organizations to take a constituent engagement approach with giving as a pinnacle action of such engagement. This means that our expectations of Millennials being “givers” in the immediate is unlikely but will happen over time.

Join us next week when I ask the authors about the single most important takeaway they hope readers consider when engaging Millennials.

Save the date for our live interview with coauthor Kara Saratovsky on September 12 at 11 a.m. CST when we discuss how to cultivate and communication with the “next greatest generation.”

CausePlanet members: Register now for our next author interview with branding expert and author, Jocelyne Daw, on Wednesday, July 31 at 11 a.m. CST. We’ll discuss her book Cause Marketing: Partner for Purpose, Passion and Profits.

Not a member yet? Get smarter faster and learn more about access to our summary library and author interviews or try us out and download a free sample or purchase single titles that interest you at our store.

See also:

Fundraising and the Next Generation by Emily Davis

Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia by Brad Szollose

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Busting five myths about Next Gen donors

There are now four generations we need to authentically engage in the philanthropic world that affect everything from communication to leadership to recruitment and retention of donors. We need to look at fundraising from the next generation of donors’perspective because philanthropy’s pipeline is essential for our organizations’sustainability. The essential questions have become: 1) Whom do we tap for funds? and 2) How do we develop Next Gen leaders on our boards and staffs and in our volunteers?

As I travel around the country and talk about Fundraising and the Next Generation, I am consistently confronted with the following five myths about fundraising with the next generation of philanthropists. Tagging and dispelling these myths can help us develop relationships with the next generations that can only enhance our organizations.

Myth #1: Next Gen donors are hard to find.

Next Gen donors are in our organizational backyards. This is not a “Where’s Waldo?” situation where they are mystical and unobtainable. They are our volunteers, staffers and children of our donors. They are young people engaged in professional groups like Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, Resource Generation and more.

Many young philanthropists begin engagement with nonprofits through volunteerism. In fact, according to various research, Millennials especially see philanthropy as a contribution of both time and money. The next generation wants hands-on experiences with organizations before giving dollars. Pay extra attention tothe volunteers.

Myth #2: The next generation is too young to make major donations or think about planned giving.

Our organizations’major donors and prospects were not always major donors, at least most of them.They needed time to build their wealth and philanthropy. It’s the same with Generation X and Millennials. We need to cultivate today’s annual donors to be tomorrow’s major donors.

I also know of Next Gen donors that do have the capacity for large gifts and do have wills with allocations for philanthropic contributions. The truth is we never really know where those millionaires are–they may be quiet or understated or they may stand to inherit wealth. It’s our job to develop relationships with individuals with wealth or access to wealth now to create sustainability for our organizations in the future. As I often say, donors are like snowflakes: each one is completely unique. Philanthropists express their contributions in different ways at different times.

Myth #3: Next gen donors’ philanthropy is the same as their parents’ and grandparents’.

Family philanthropy is complicated, whether we are talking about a family foundation, donor-advised fund or kitchen table philanthropy. Combining money, family dynamics and the generational lens makes giving especially delicate. One thing I know is that every generation–every individual–in philanthropic families wants to have its own impact. This impact may include a respect for the legacy of those who led the family’s philanthropy but will also need to encompass additional philanthropic values.

In resource development, we can reach out to the younger generations in family philanthropies to find out what inspires them and how to communicate effectively. Ask questions about how they would like to be engaged and what a successful,impactful philanthropic investment looks like.

We are not carbon copies of our parents and grandparents; neither is our philanthropy.

Myth #4: Next Gen donors don’t have the time, talent or treasure to serve as board members.

Experiences with groups like Young Nonprofit Professionals Network demonstrate there are young people who are anxious to serve in leadership roles. Our job is to make sureany board member, regardless of age, has the tools to serve successfully in those roles. Provide training on fundraising and help individuals set fundraising goals to serve the mission.

A positive leadership experience for emerging leaders transforms them into ambassadors for your mission. We need to avoid tokenizing young people on our boards so we can check a box. Instead, make sure you’ve created a welcoming and engaging culture on your board that makes it possible to both recruit and retain Next Gen board members and donors. Young board members will provide fresh perspectives and diversity on your board, just like any other demographic.

Next Gen philanthropists are interested in giving time, treasure, talent, and ties, as the Next Gen Donors Report highlights. The next generation is well connected and will use those networks to tie the organization to meaningful partnerships whenever possible.

Myth #5: Young donors only use electronic communications.

Today the key to fundraising with any demographic group or individual donor is multichannel communications. Yes, Generation X and Y are technologically savvy and Millennials are considered digital natives, but online interactions will never replace in-person relationships. Don’t assume the only way to communicate with younger donors is by Facebook or Twitter.

We can use online technologies like social media as one of the tools in our toolbox, creating anentry point to develop deeper relationships. Social media is an outstanding way to steward relationships with existing donors by sharing our organization’s stories and successes and adding value by connecting followers to additional resources.

The truth is that fundraisers have had to evolve their communications strategies as new technologies emerge. We have had to learn how to effectively use direct mail, public service announcements and websites. We now need to add social media to that toolbox and know there will be more tools to come. In fact, it was recently reported thatthe fastest growing demographic on Facebook is women ages 55–65. What does this tell us about our assumptions related to social media and age?

While technology is agreat asset we can use to develop our donor relationships and create newprospects, it will never replace the personal connections that a phone call ora face-to-face meeting offers. Next generation philanthropists are no different than other generations; there are just additional ways to communicate with them.

We know from the research by Convio on the Next Generation of American Giving that lifelong loyalty to any nonprofit organization begins in the thirties, regardless of the generation, so perhaps giving is about life stage rather than age. We need to always check any assumptions we hold in order to explore what individual donors of all ages and giving abilities can contribute to our organization.

You can read more about next generation donors in Fundraisingand the Next Generation and the Next Gen Donors Report.

See also:

Our Page to Practice summary of Fundraising and the Next Generation

Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia–Multigenerational Management Ideas that are Changing the Way We Run Things

Working Across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership

Creating Change through Family Philanthropy: The Next Generation

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