For many fundraisers, it means a struggle to find ways to connect with a diverse generation that has different expectations than those established by their parents and grandparents.
But millennials don’t have to mean a struggle, and they can mean the future of your organization. Millennials currently make up 25% of the U.S. population, and will compose half of the American workforce by 2020. It’s essential that you’re able to reach this generation with your fundraising efforts, as it represents a significant number of potential donors that may be interested in giving now, and for many years to come.
More so than previous generations, millennials are very receptive to cause marketing and fundraising. Nearly half of millennials are more willing to purchase from a company if that company supports a cause, and 37% will pay more for a product or service if it will help a cause they believe in.
Millennials’ desire to do good makes them qualified potential donors for your organization. But to reach them effectively, you may have to adopt some new practices.
1) Be Digitally Invested: Millennials grew up using computers, and they’re quick to adopt new forms of technology. If you want to make millennials aware of your nonprofit, you have to be tech savvy, too. You can:
Be active on social media by sharing, posting, commenting, and responding to any actions on your page.
Ensure your website is updated regularly, easy to navigate, and optimized for mobile devices.
Set up search engine optimization (SEO) for your nonprofit’s website.
Try using or creating a mobile app so that it’s easy for potential donors to give at any time (millennials tend to be impulse donors).
Develop consistency across marketing channels so that potential donors will have a seamless experience.
2) Millennials Like Direct Mail: Though millennials are digitally focused, they place value and trust in direct mail. 84% of millennials regularly read through their mail, and 64% would rather find useful information in the mail than from an email. Part of the reason for this is that direct mail can be extremely personalized for the recipient. Personal touches give your nonprofit a human, friendly side that millennials will connect with.
3) Be Approachable: Present your organization as approachable and encourage potential donors to engage in frequent conversations with you, whether on a blog page, social media site, in an email, or in person.
By connecting with millennial donors now, you are beginning a long-term relationship with them, that will hopefully transition to a regular gift. Many younger people may not be in a position to make a financial gift, but are still passionate about helping. Encouraging them to volunteer with you keeps them involved while creating a deeper bond between them and your organization.
4) Think Global, Act Local: Millennials have a global consciousness, and they want to feel they’re contributing to a larger cause. If you can, connect your mission to a larger issue, and show how an action in your community can relate and support a global need.
5) Enhance Trust: 42% of Americans believe brands are less trustworthy than they were 20 years ago. A good practice for reaching donors of any generation is to be transparent. Millennials want clear and specific information on the impact their individual contribution will have.
Building trust also means staying in touch with donors on a regular basis. Since millennials value the relationships they build with organizations, it’s essential for you to communicate with them for more than just an ask, reiterating the good you’re doing with regular updates on the impact you’re having.
6) Step Up Storytelling: Millennials tend to feel connected to causes rather than individual organizations. But you can use stories to show the impact, importance, and personal side of your nonprofit, helping millennials to build a stronger connection to you. It gives your organization a human side, and potential donors can see and hear from specific individuals they’ll be helping. Use a lot of images and videos in your fundraising materials to help your stories make an impact.
What goes through your mind when you hear the term “millennial”? It’s a word that seems to be everywhere these days. But who are millennials? What makes them tick and drives their decisions? And how can you communicate with them?
Understanding what a millennial is and how exactly you can reach them is an elusive concept, one that is often frustrating to marketers who are trying to connect with this generation. You may have experienced this yourself, and I have both good and bad news for you. Since they are a very diverse group, no single marketing strategy is going to allow you to reach every millennial.
But the good news is, there are several approaches proven to resonate with millennials, and they’re not as hard to grasp as you may think.
Watch this video to get a clearer idea of who millennials are and what’s important to them:
Millennials have a different world-view, and need to be marketed to differently. They are a demographic that, in sheer numbers alone, is more populous than the baby boomers, giving millennials significant purchasing and decision-making power, a power that continues to grow annually.
Since millennials currently make up 25% of the U.S. population and will compose half of the American workforce by 2020, it’s important that marketers understand the best way to reach this demographic. Though they cannot be defined by income, career choice, or marital status, there are a few generalities that can be made:
It is largely agreed that individuals born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s are millennials.
As the first generation to grow up in the online era, they are used to digital communications and having more choices than previous generations.
Millennials are the most educated generation, though they also have more student debt.
Meaning, experiences, and causes are all important topics/ideas for them.
So, how can you successfully market to millennials?
1. Enhance Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Millennials are used to receiving information from many channels, and they tend to be multitaskers, plugged in across devices and sharing content across media. Consistency across platforms is key for engaging millennials with your marketing. Having a constant message and representation of your brand helps them to connect with your company.
Since so many millennials are accessing content on smartphones and tablets, you need to adopt a multi-channel strategy focused on mobile optimization. That may mean reworking your website into a responsive template, making it accessible and easily readable across devices of any screen size.
That’s huge! And, it means that connecting with millennials requires you to develop a social strategy. Find the social media sites that work best for you and make them a part of your daily marketing plan. Adding a YouTube account or creating your own video content for Facebook or your website can also be effective. Millennials want to see helpful, informative content that they can engage with, so make sure your digital strategy offers them more than just what you’re trying to sell.
2. Embrace User Generated Content
The Baby Boomer generation relied on traditional forms of advertising, like radio and television ads. Marketers could expect that running an ad on TV would lead to many new sales and customers. Millennials, however, are much less likely to make a purchase decision from such an ad. What do they like? Brand interaction.
User generated content is one of the top ways that millennials make purchase decisions. They want to read honest reviews from customers who have purchased a company’s products or utilized their services. A study by Bazaarvoice found that 84% of millennials are influenced by user generated content when making purchase decisions, and 73% believe it is important to read others’ opinions before making a purchase.
If traditional ads are all about getting consumers to pay attention, making use of user generated content in your business is about building trust, which is high on the list of what millennials want from businesses. They like to do business with brands that are authentic and human. And they want to be able to interact and have a conversation with those companies.
What does this mean for you? Make it as easy as possible for public discussions about your brand to happen. Whether it’s on your website, a blog page, or your social media sites, get customers talking about your brand.
Facebook gives you the option of allowing reviews on your page, and this can be a great place to showcase what people are saying about your business. They might not always have good things to say, but a public forum is a place where you can show your willingness to resolve issues and take customer suggestions. Potential customers will see this, and it will help you to appear more human in their eyes.
Customers that love your brand will want to say so, and they will become brand ambassadors by talking to their friends and family about their experience. This group is more likely to respond to a peer review than a pop-up ad. You can also invest in influencer marketing, essentially building relationships with individuals that have influence over your customer base and can reach them through mediums like social media, in ways that your brand may not be able to.
Try giving customers a chance to bring their personality to your brand and be a part of brand decisions. For instance, Lays has given customers the ability to choose the next chip flavor, and Coca-Cola ran a campaign asking fans to get creative and interpret what the brand means to them in an artistic medium of their choice.
3. Personalize Direct Mail for Millennials
Millennials are used to digital marketing channels, and they rely heavily on what their community has to say about a brand. However, this does not mean that online methods are the only way to reach your millennial audience. US Presort, a direct marketing company based in New York City, conducted a surprising study about millennials and direct mail. Check out some results:
84% of millennials regularly read through their mail, and 64% would rather find useful information in the mail than from an email.
50% of millennials ignore digital ads, while only 15% ignore direct mail.
90% of people between 25 and 34 believe direct mail is reliable.
77% pay attention to advertising through direct mail, and over half have made a purchase from a direct mail offer.
Those are some pretty compelling statistics in favor of using direct mail to market to millennials. As we learned above, millennials like to hear personal stories when considering a brand, and one of the reasons direct mail is so popular is that it can be extremely personalized based on categories like purchase history, interests, and geographic region. Printing technology is also considerably advanced, so you can add to the tactile benefit of direct mail by incorporating creative folds, colors, and textures that will make your mail memorable.
4. Increase Engagement & Market an Experience
Millennials feel trust when a brand’s values align with their own, and those values often include a desire to support a cause or charitable mission. Nearly half of millennials are more willing to purchase from a company if that company supports a cause, and 37% will pay more for a product or service if it will help a cause they believe in. Philanthropy adds to the human side of your brand that is so important for millennials. If your business supports a cause, make sure people know about it.
Being able to give back while conducting business with your company changes the brand experience, and for millennials, experience carries more weight than a physical purchase. 78% of millennials prefer spending money on experiences rather than purchasing an item, and over half are spending more on events and experiences now than they ever have.
This may seem hard to work with if you’re in the business of selling a product, but it’s all about how you market it. Millennials are very receptive to storytelling in advertisements, and you can use that to your advantage. If you sell tents, for instance, make your ad about the experience of camping, how it allows you to relax, have fun, and connect with friends and family, rather than focusing on the physical and monetary benefits of the product.
You can also hold an event to get prospective customers more excited about the buying process. Attending the event heightens the experience of shopping, and it is a great opportunity for millennials to connect to the personality and human face of your business.
We recognize that crafting a marketing plan can be a challenge. Contact Paw Print & Mail and let us help you find the right strategy to market your business to millennials, or any demographic you are trying to reach.
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