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.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

My Virtual Paddle Out for Earl Kanter Post - #OceanLoveEarl

Beth Kanter, a leading voice in social media for nonprofits is known worldwide.   She is a prolific writer and the nonprofit community benefits everyday from her ideas and information sharing.  I am fortunate to consider Beth a colleague and a friend.  Beth grew up in Margate, NJ which is right next to Ocean City where I have vacationed with my family since my kids were very small.  We always had dinner at least once in Margate and drove past the famous statue of Lucy the elephant as a ritual part of our trip to the Jersey shore.

But I digress……

Beth keeps a busy schedule traveling around the world and training nonprofits in the merits and intricacies of effectively using social media.  But for several weeks she camped out in Margate while her beloved Dad was dealing with the final stage of Parkinson’s disease.  She posted upbeat pictures of him and she savored these last days with her Dad.  I can tell from everything she has written about him that he was one terrific guy.  Besides being a MD, he was an avid surfer – the first to bring surfing to the Jersey shore.  She has set up a fundraiser in his memory and asked us all to participate.  

Today, July 3rd, Beth is asking us all to participate in a “Virtual Paddle Out for Earl Kanter” by sharing our favorite story of the ocean with the hashtag #oceanloveearl.  So here’s my story.

I am a New Jersey girl and having been going to the Jersey shore for my entire life.  I love the ocean and the beach.  I love to sit on the boardwalk in the early morning and at night and listen to the waves.  There is no better way to appreciate the vastness, beauty, rhythm and power of nature than by just sitting there and watching and listening.  I spent a lot of time today looking for a favorite picture of me with my Dad  (Taken in the 50’s) playing in the sand at Asbury Park but unfortunately I couldn’t find it.

I do have two pictures to share though.  One of the things I love to do at the ocean is build a boat in the sand.  It has to be far enough from the waves coming in so that it doesn’t quickly wash away but is close enough so that you can build a wall and moat to protect it as the tide does come in until finally it is all over and disappears into the sea. I love to walk at the ocean's edge and see all the building projects going on.  Later they all fall as the tide comes in.  It is a gentle, graceful slow fall - and makes think of the way Earl Kanter passed.  

I built this boat with my kids in Ocean City, NJ in 1988  - about 2 miles from Earl’s home.  He could have been surfing within sight of where we were at the Ocean City surfing beach.

Here you can see that I’m still into building boats in the sand at the ocean’s edge almost twenty five years later with my grandson.  Although perhaps not quite as good as I used to be at sand boat building.

At 3 years old Zach understand the importance of building the wall to protect the boat.

It may not be exciting, but that’s my ocean story.  I love the ocean and want generations to come to enjoy it.  My grandson loves to be at the ocean with me and I hope that he gets to build a boat in the sand with his grandchildren and tell them where he got the idea and learned how to do it just right.

If you’d like to contribute to making sure that generations to come will also enjoy the ocean, give to the Surfrider Foundation in memory of Beth’s Dad.  Click to donate now.

Use the hashtag #oceanloveearl if you post about this on facebook or twitter.