The Cause Agency
The Cause Agency

Why Nonprofits Should Target Millennials

Many think of the millennial generation as selfish and unaware. Despite this misconception, nonprofits are realizing that millennials are a growing force in the philanthropic world; they just require a different approach. According to, 63% of millennials donate to charities and 43% actively volunteer. That doesn’t sound lazy and uninterested. Millennials are the generation of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Kony 2012, go-fund-me’s and petitions. They aren’t donating and volunteering in the traditional way, but they’re embracing new technology-based fundraising platforms.

For nonprofits to capture this impactful generation, they have to think outside of their traditional approach. With the development of programs like PayPal, millennials can give instantly to an organization or nonprofit without having to leave their couches. No need to walk all the way to a mailbox, instead they can make a difference using their keyboard.

When the earthquake hit Nepal, Yik Yak, an anonymous app aimed at college students, was used to raise money. Directly targeting millenials, Yik Yak was able to make a big donation to the earthquake victims. Its message contained no images but was easy to understand and quick to read. Its short and precise wording captured the attention of many millennials and resulted in them replying to the call-to-action.

Social media campaigns have a big impact for nonprofits due to the amount of time millennials spend on their social media accounts. The key for nonprofits is to separate themselves from other nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Millennials are not as affected by advertising as were the previous generations. They have become jaded and immune to the average advertisement. For an ad to be impactful it has to be fresh. This can be difficult with the onslaught of new ad campaigns in the marketplace today, which are multiplying at rapid pace.

Properly using today’s technology is another effective way to reach millennials. Be cautious though, as millennials are trained to spot stagnant, unoriginal websites and sales emails. For a nonprofit organization to reach the millennials without being missed, it must look as updated as the ideas it presents.

Millennials may not be the first audience nonprofit leaders think of as generous and giving, but they are becoming a powerful force in this category. As this younger generation grows, their generosity will align with that growth and nonprofit fundraising techniques must evolve to accommodate them.

Paige Wheeler, marketing intern