How Millennials Are Changing the Future of Charities
As a Millennial myself, I'm not the first to say that the whole group gets a bad rap for the wrong reasons. We're viewed as selfie-snapping, texting, Uber-riding, self-absorbed narcissists...to put it nicely. Interestingly enough, many Millennials share this opinion: recently, Millennial Johnny Oleksinski was quoted in the New York Post as saying:
"This is my No. 1 rule: Do whatever millennials don’t. Definite no-no's include quitting a job or relationship the moment my mood drops from ecstatic to merely content; expecting the world to kowtow to my every childish whim; and assuming that I am always the most fascinating person in the room, hell, the zip code."
Geeze, talk about self-loathing.
However, I don't think this is entirely true: Millennials (when they DO come into money) are among the most giving and generous groups out there. They care about worthy causes and are changing the world of nonprofits and charitable giving. This article from Wealth Management provided some awesome examples of how this is occurring today:
1. Millennials are always digitally connected
While it is true that Millennials spend much of their time in the digital world, and not the physical world, this is a major advantage when it comes to charitable giving. Direct campaigns just don't work anymore: can you imagine a Millennial putting a check in the MAIL? Data shows that in 2015, charitable giving increased by 1.6% but online donations increased by 9.2%. Why? The majority of the time it was Millennials donating on some form of social media.
2. Millennials Share Information with Others
Duh. One only has to go on a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to know that this is the case. Social media is a direct reflection of one's personality and identity, and this holds true for charitable actions as well. Think to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from a few years ago which completely dominated social media: the organization had never experienced so many donations and so much attention. If you're running a charity, social media is VITAL.
3. Millennials like a heartwarming story
Authenticity matters to Millennials, so sharing a story to provide a personal connection with a cause builds a level of trust and helps them to understand exactly what they are supporting. No story? Then it may be a way to trick them.
4. Millennials are more concerned with an organization's impact rather than the organization itself
The days of organizations raising money just based on a name are over. People can no longer be convinced to donate to The United Way just because it is The United Way. Millennials want to see the results of their donations and the more specific the causes, the better. According to Brady Depew from The Balance: "When millennials check a nonprofit’s website, they look for information about what the organization does and how donations are used. They are less interested in the people or the ideas behind a nonprofit than they are in the results the nonprofit produces. Nonprofit “self-talk” doesn’t impress millennials unless it is backed up with tangible results."
5. Millennials value transparency
The internet has made it easier for people to be scammed, but since Millennials grew up with the internet, they are quite savvy on ways to avoid being duped. According to The Atlantic: "The government says, the four organizations stole $187 million between 2008 and 2012 in donations, which they diverted into 'lucrative employment for family members and friends, and spent consumer donations on cars, trips, luxury cruises, college tuition, gym memberships, jet ski outings, sporting event and concert tickets, and dating site memberships.'" Millennials are very suspicious of those who want their money and they want to see and understand how they are making a difference. When this can be accomplished, they will of course, donate.
6. Millennials are constantly looking for causes via Social Media
While some might roll their eyes at the #FirstWorldProblems, but this very hashtag has led many to discover the Water is Life campaign that brings clean drinking water to villages in Africa. Millennials don't just share causes on social media, they also FIND them. The more technology-savvy the cause is, the more they can expect donations from young adults.