Sep 2, 2018

Attracting and Retaining Millennials as Donors and Volunteers

millennial donors

To grow your organization, you need to focus on attracting and retaining younger constituents. Many organizations disregard younger audiences, but these groups are growing in both size and income, and are valuable assets to nonprofit organizations. Millennials who haven’t quite kicked off their careers still want to give back and can do so with their time. Bring them on as interns for a semester or as volunteers for your next event.


In January of 2018, we covered fundraising trends for 2018 that nonprofits need to know. Many of these trends discuss how organizations can reach out to younger audiences to seek donations. Some of the top ways are with social media, video content, and mobile technology.

Social media:

Most millennials are more active than other age groups on all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube. Here are some quick facts about this group’s social media usage:

  • Over 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35
  • The majority of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 32
  • Youtube reaches more members of Generations X and Y than any broadcast or cable television

For more information about usage on the specific social media networks, you can view GiveSmart’s donor segmentation guide here.

To take advantage of social media, your organization should create profiles on each platform and work to share interesting content. If all of the platforms seems daunting, then at least join Facebook because there are over 1.71 billion users across all generations. You can also consider hiring an intern to help navigate social media.

To make your content creative and interesting, you’ll want to tell a story about your organization and your clients. Do you have photos from a recent event? What statistics do you have about your efforts in the past year? Share all of the information you have! Be sure to provide links to donation pages in the bios of your social media accounts so that users can easily transition from reading about your organization’s work to donating.

Video content:

By 2019, video content will be responsible for 85% of ALL U.S. internet traffic. In order to get the attention of donors –– especially millennials –– your organization should utilize videos to share impact stories about your cause, your success, and request viewers support.

Your videos don’t have to be professionally produced; you can use free software for smartphones and computers to create short videos about your organization, but they should contain information relevant to your organization’s cause. Videos can be used to solicit donations, share success stories, thank donors, or share any other story you feel is important. Be sure to share these videos on social media, tag media outlets and related sources, and encourage constituents to share as well so that your content gets exposure beyond your organization’s page.

Mobile Fundraising Technology:

Millennials are known as the “generation of multitaskers,” so in order to reach these busy people, you need to be where they are most active – on their smartphones. Mobile fundraising technology offers several options for reaching this group including text message communications, seamless bidding, donations, and payments from anywhere, and the ability to publish content on social media from your donation pages.

When at large fundraising events, your audience can be socializing and enjoying the night without needing to worry about the auction. Donors are free to roam around the event space and don’t need to be glued to the silent auction table! You can send a text message when it’s time for your guests to find their tables and take their seat. Donors can even donate and bid on items through their phones during dinner and your program. At the end of the night, all payments can be processed quickly and seamlessly on donors’ phones so there’s no need for anyone to wait in line.

Also, with mobile fundraising technology, you can collect donor information to store in your CRM or Donor Database. This information helps with donor retention because you can work to send your donors with campaign information via email or text message.


While some members of Generations X, Y, and Z may not be able to contribute financially, they can donate their time as volunteers! Your organization can also use video content, social media, and volunteer marketing and management software to reach potential volunteers.

Social Media:

On social media, share the amazing things your volunteers accomplish and always provide a way for people to contact you. If you make it easy for those interested to get more information, you’re more likely to gain volunteers. Here’s an example caption:

“We had over 60 volunteers help at our Annual Gala this year! If you would like to volunteer with us during the year or at next year’s event, get in touch with to learn more and sign up!”

You should also include pictures and videos because they are eye-catching. They can also show potential volunteers that the people you have currently volunteering are just like them!

The great thing about Millennial volunteers is that most will be well versed in social media, video production, and mobile technology. You can ask them to use their skills to help your organization in these areas. A Millennial Impact Report found that 77% of Millennials said they are more likely to volunteer if they can use specific skills or expertise to help a cause. Take advantage of this and use Millennial skills and power to help attract and retain a younger generation of donors!

Volunteer Marketing and Management Software:

With over 1.3 million users, VolunteerMatch is one of the most popular volunteer marketing platforms. Many millennials looking for volunteer opportunities will turn to the internet first. By putting your opportunities online, you have a greater chance of reaching them. The system allows prospective volunteers to search for opportunities based on their interest, experience, location, and causes they care about. Similar to a job posting board, organizations can post information about specific volunteer positions, requirements, and provide contact/application information. Organizations can also use VolunteerMatch’s communication system to manage volunteer applications. VolunteerMatch is also a nonprofit organization, meaning that they understand what organizations go through to find qualified volunteers!

Volunteer Management Software is key for organizational efficiency. There are many different options for this type of software, so you’ll want to figure out which features are most important to your organization. For example, if your volunteers work with children, you may want your volunteer management software to integrate with your background check program. If you have a large number of volunteers and several different programs, you may find a scheduling tool useful. Does your organization require online training for volunteers? If so, a system with a training management feature.

Last but not least, you’ll want to be able to easily keep track of your volunteers! You should have their contact information easily accessible. It’s also beneficial to know which volunteers are giving the most time so you can appropriately thank them.


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Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

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Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County