Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Great Research for Nonprofits: Millennial Impact Report – Part 1 - Connect

The third annual Millennial Impact report has just been issued and it is full of important data.  The report is issued by Achieve and Johnson Grossnickle Associate and funded by the Case Foundation.  The findings and recommendations are drawn from over 6500 surveys completed and  focus groups of “Millennial Professionals” aged 20 – 35.  95% of the participants were college graduates.  The purpose of the study is to develop a better understanding of successful strategies for nonprofits to engage millennials.  Because it included both surveys and focus groups in Indianapolis, Seattle, and Washington D.C it has both breadth and depth.

 The report is grouped into three categories –

·       Connect
·       Involve
·       Give

This article covers the Connect aspect of the report.  There is a companion article at the Nonprofit Capacity Building  Blog  - Great Research for Nonprofits: Millennial Impact Report – Involve the 20-35 Year Olds which addresses the “Involve” aspect of the report.  Check back for an article that will be published in both blogs on the “Give” results.

I enjoy writing about research reports, but, as always, you will find my own comments sprinkled throughout this article.  Sorry – I just can’t help myself.   There is a lot of meat in this study and if you are interested in extending your reach with Millennials you will find a lot of useful information here. 

I have been writing about engaging Millennials for a long time.  I have a 27 year old son and so I have a personal sample of one to add to the study.  My assessment – This study is dead-on correct.  And…. I think a lot of this applies to older folks too – not just Millennials.  I bet you will identify with much of what is in the report.  However, objective data always boosts my confidence level.
A big thank you for the team also making these great infographics with their key findings available.

Here are some key overall findings and assessments from the report:
Millennials are eager to be taken seriously as future donors, volunteers, and leaders for causes they care about.      Young donors are fully immersed in the pace and technology of our times, but they are also invested in timeless values.  They want to give and to serve. They want involvements that engage their minds as well as their hands. In the end, they want to build authentic, personal relationships with nonprofits. Millennials  have high expectations.  Marion’s note: Corporate employers are learning the parallel or same things.

Study Findings on “Connecting”
The nonprofit website continues to be the number #1 way that Millennials will get information about you but they want it in short, quick, easy to access bites.  They are most likely accessing your website from a smartphone – not sitting in front of a computer.  They want to quickly find the specific information that they went to the website for.  My advice – use your own smartphone and go to your website  and check out various things people might be looking for.  How easy to get is what you are looking for?
Focus group participants in all 3 cities repeatedly said they wanted to be able to understand exactly what the organization did in a split-second.  Mission statements should show the purpose and value of the organization without being lengthy.  Wouldn’t all age groups like this?  YES!!!!!


Nonprofit websites should show:
·       A unique, purposeful and concise mission
·       Easy to use navigation – don’t make users dig for information
·       Clear call to action (Ex. - Donate, volunteer, promote)
·       Photos that help show what you do - show instead of tell
o   Marion’s note:  Photos of buildings and old people at galas are not that interesting.

  • 65% say they prefer that an email from a nonprofit deliver news and updates 
  • 61% want to know about upcoming events
  • 47% want to be informed about volunteer opportunities.
Millennials are interested in your enewsletters BUT only if you follow these rules very carefully:

  • Keep the email short – best if limited to one subject.  Remember its probably being viewed on a smartphone.
  • Emails should not be too frequent – or it will result in deletion.
  • Subject line is key to the email being opened.   (Having the right Subject title is an art in itself.  Never say “June Newsletter.”  Sounds like it is a long and boring email –  quick path to the delete button.  A title that portends action, big news, opportunity to attend/get involved is much more likely to be opened.)
  • Use links to direct readers to subjects that they want more information about.
Focus group participants said that it was important the e-news signups be prominent on the homepage, and must explain the benefits of subscribing to the e-news and frequency of publication.  Marion – Glad  I saw this.  I am aggressive about offering advice about your donate now button but I haven’t said much about eNewsletter signups.  I sure will in the future.
In response to nonprofit newsletter examples, focus group respondents in all cities felt that emails with too much content were overwhelming and less likely to be read. They preferred emails be focused on the most important call to action and story, with links for more information on other topics, volunteer opportunities, and events.  

Facebook has become a key avenue for building relationships and in no group is it more important than with Millennials.  Of the 67% of respondents who said they have interacted with nonprofits via Facebook, 92% have “liked” nonprofit pages.   All I can say to that is WOW – What an opportunity that so many small nonprofits have hardly tapped into.  The value of facebook is in enhancing relationships with those you already have a relationship with but there is also a huge opportunity to expand your reach.  Check out the responses to this question:

  • Cool Events                      74%
  • Impressive Statistics     68%
  • News                                  65%
  • Volunteer Opportunity  61%
  • I donated                          30%
People ask me what they post about on facebook.  Here it is – plain and simple.  Works for all ages. 

Tips for Engaging on Facebook:

·       Post links to other  relevant blogs or orga­nizations

·       Tag photos of volunteers or event attendees

·       Post photos sharing a statistic or key fact about the organization in one line

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I bet charities in nyc will now re-divert their resources to other platforms after reading this report (they'd still keep majority on the sites, though).