Friday, July 26, 2013

Millennial Impact Research Report - Highlights and Takeaways

The fourth annual Millennial Impact Research report has just been issued and it is chock full of new research important to nonprofits who want to engage this generation.  Who are the Millennials?  They are 18 – 34 year olds.  This was an online research study and 14 nonprofit research partners distributed the survey with 2665 respondents.  There also was online usability testing with 100 participants and a unique feature of this study are brief videos which feature a millennial reaction to various nonprofit online media (website, facebook,  twitter donation request, email, mobile).   This innovative, yet simple approach is VERY revealing.  Make sure you watch the videos – they average about a minute long.

The report is organized into the three categories in which nonprofits engage Millennials: Connect, Involve and Give and there is a super infographic for each category.

You can see the whole report, infographics  and videos here.  

These are the five key trends and characteristics of Millennials that have emerged over the last 4 years. 

  • Prefer to connect via technology
  • Share in micro ways
  • Facilitate and rely on peer influence
  • Volunteer along a continuum of support
  • Give to have an impact

The need to build comprehensive Millennial engagement is the key highlight of the report.  It addresses the importance of understanding the influence of peer engagement, design, and messaging, and how it all combines to encourage Millennials to act in the moment.

The key points in the Connect phase are:
  • Most have smartphones and connect with you mainly via smartphone – not a computer.
  • They are interested in the cause – not your organization.
The takeaways:
  • Make sure your website and emails are mobile friendly, write about the cause – not just your organization, use social media, keep website updated, and post photos and pictures on facebook – not just word posts.
  • Nearly half of respondents actively follow one to five organizations on social media.  Become one of those 5 by posting success stories, pictures, information about the cause, calls to advocacy action.  Do not just ask for money or post the same thing over and over.

  • The top three reasons they get involved are passion for the cause, meeting people and developing expertise.
  • They like to volunteer with peers –social networking is integral to their volunteering.
  • They appreciate the ability to receive required training online.

The takeaways:
  • Since they are focused on the cause set up advocacy opportunities using social media for the cause – not just your organization.  It is an opportunity to be one of the few nonprofits that a Millennial will follow – and like and share your posts.
  • Invite millennial to participate in higher level skill volunteering including committees and the Board. The biggest pet peeve about volunteering they had was having their time wasted. 
  • Design volunteer and participation activities that also provide social networking opportunity.

  • You have to meet them in appropriate channels such as social media and email.
  • They are interested in monthly giving
  • They will ask family and friends to participate in run/walk type events
  • They will ask friends to donate to a cause rather than give a birthday gift.

The takeaways:
  • Millennials have smaller disposable income and give less – but they do give.
  • You have an opportunity to build long term relationships with them.
  • In order to gain their interest, you need to engage them in multiple ways – before you can expect them to give.
  • They will make donations, but building a relationship for future gifts should be the main focus.

What’s your experience with Millennials and what do you recommend that nonprofits do to engage them?  Please share in the comments.

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