publication date: Dec 19, 2011
author/source: Carolyn Hawthorn
Gen Ys that donate? It's not a misprint. A glimpse into the
relationships Gen Ys have with charitable donations paired with suggestions for
attracting their interest will guide your charitable organization towards
receiving more Gen Y support.
Generous, hungry for
and Johnson Grossnickle and Associates (JGA)
studied the giving habits of 2010 Gen Ys in the US, they found that Gen Ys are
more likely to give in a recession than any other generation. One-third of the
respondents reported gifts between $0 and $99, and over 40% donated more than $300.
Additionally, 69% were willing to increase their giving amount within the year.
Gen Ys are interested in a variety of charitable
organizations. But in order to feel comfortable giving, they must have information.
In the Achieve-JGA survey, 86% stated they wanted updates on programs or
services, especially financial information. And six out of ten said they
wouldn't donate to a charity the first time they were introduced to the
Though Gen Ys prefer email and still use search engines to
research organizations of interest, they respond to social media as well. Facebook,
blogging, Twitter, and other social media sites are crucial in engaging and
retaining Gen Y, as long as the social media practice is done in an authentic
Besides social media, charities should explore other
interactive programs to attract the tech-savvy Gen Y. Advice
offers these examples:
Building Gen Y engagement
- The BBC created a
website called Dimensions to
show the scale of events in different geographic contexts. After entering
your location, you can see statistics such as how much of your area would
have been affected by the Pakistan floods of 2010. It's a great example of
how technology can connect large-scale and distant issues to local
- Gapminder is an example of
presenting data crucial to Gen Ys in an interesting and interactive way.
Through the Gapminder website, users can interact with a wide range of
global development statistics and trends.
Earth Engine can showcase ongoing changes within the world. For example, the
application allows you to see the deforestation of Brazil over the years.
Leadership opportunities within an organization help Gen Ys
feel that they are contributing to a tangible change. Take advantage of their
talents in writing, public speaking, photography, fashion, painting, science,
or athletics to encourage involvement and build a sense of connection. Such
roles often make Gen Ys feel more connected, and that makes them more likely to
give to your organization.
Finally, here are some tips based on the research that will
help your charity connect with Generation Y.
- Be specific - in
your ask, event, volunteer opportunity, financial situation, mission,
vision, successes, and failures.
- Thank young
- Take some
marketing risks. Be unique, do something different, do something that will
resonate with people, and start with YouTube videos.
- Employ a
multi-channel high-tech process to reach donors, but rely on face-to-face
contact to make the ask. (Twitter, Facebook, blogging are great for this.)
- Provide updates,
good and bad. Donors have a right to know.
- Provide unique
- Use social media
- Have financial information
ready, with someone able to answer questions.
- Research what's
up and coming. What's the new Twitter?
- Ask questions,
perhaps ask a Gen Y questions! Conduct field research to help your
organization win over Gen Ys.
- Understand that
your return on investment will take a little longer when dealing with Gen
Keep track of what's working and what isn't
Implementing some of these suggestions in your organization
will help draw in Gen Ys eager to make a smart, lasting, and meaningful donation
to your charitable cause.
Donors: A Study of Millennial Giving and Engagement by Achieve: Guidance,
Resources, Success and JGA: Johnson Grossnickle Associates at
Carolyn Hawthorn is a recent graduate from the Fundraising and Volunteer Management
program at Humber College. Passionate about causes close to the hearts of young
adults, Carolyn has worked in the communications department at The University
of Western Ontario Student Union, her alma mater. Currently an active "Mo
Sista," Carolyn is working at Movember
Contact her by email