5 Lessons of the 2013 Millennial Impact Report for Nonprofits
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What is the Millennial Impact Report?

Last week, Achieve and The Case Foundation, along with their partners, released the Millennial Impact Reportan assessment of the social impact activity of people under 30, aka the Millennial generation.  The report includes data about Millennials’ propensity to donate, their expectations from nonprofit organizations’ websites, reporting, social impact and social media practices.

Sounds great! So, what were some key findings of the Millennial Impact Report?

First, I’m going to switch to “we” here because at ImpactFlo, we’re also Millennials and as one, the research seems to be in line with many of our perceptions of nonprofits, giving and social impact.

  • We prefer to connect via (surprise, surprise) technology
  • We’re influenced by, and rely on, our peers. We’re catalyzed to volunteer, donate, share stories and attend events when we hear it from our friends, in person or on social media.
  • We’re erratic – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many nonprofits like to rely on sure things, after all most aren’t ventures taking risks that could cost even a few dollars in support, but if the photos, stories or interactive media you share moves us we’re more likely than older cohorts to act impulsively to donate, share your cause, or volunteer.
  • We love to experience things and, for the most part, socialize with like-minded individuals. We’re a generation of video-gamers, festival-goers and travelers. We’re interested in going out into the world and doing – volunteering being one of them.
  • Perhaps most importantly, we don’t give to nonprofits for a tax write off or to brag to peers. We give because we want to have an impact.
How can my nonprofit (or even social enterprise) make use of information from the Millennial Impact Report?
  • Invest in a website and graphics that adhere to current design standards. As millennials, we’re used to interacting with a particular type of design – simple, interactive and up-to-date. We’re using Gmail, browsing Pintrest, and following organizations like charitywater
  • Optimize your content for sharing. Even when writing copy for your site or posting on Facebook, pay attention that each word packs meaning and can move readers to share the story. Be brief, active and incorporate photos, videos and other multimedia. Hubspot reports photo posts on Facebook generate 53% more likes than text posts.
  • Keep the information on your site up to date. The Millennial Impact Report says 75% person of young donors were turned off by out of date websites. Making sure your organization updates project status, new programming and relevant events all demonstrate an organizations that is well run and in touch with their beneficiaries.
  • We want to know exactly how our dollars our spent – we want to see our tangible impact. E-mail updates to donors on how exactly the money is making difference in another person’s life. charitywater does a great job of this. Not only do they map project dollars, but they also e-mail per dollar reports of how a donor’s money is impacting a community and write stories from the field.
  • Tell your story. Visual storytelling, accompanied by a brief narrative that focuses on why and how a donor can impact a cause, is increasingly important to how millennials are digesting cause-related material. Falling Whistles, an organization fighting violence in the Congo, is an impressive example of visual, and emotionally moving, storytelling.

Of course, not all nonprofits are created equal – there are a diverse range of causes, audiences and networks in which they are entrenched. However, as we barrel forward into the 21st century’s second decade, Millennials are growing up and becoming driving forces in politics and economics and reaching them now will be critical to organization’s survival in the future.

Read more about storytelling and tracking impact by clicking here.


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