An unexpected and unwelcome irony is playing out in university and college development offices across the country.
On the one hand, Millennials – i.e. the cohort born around 1980-2000ish that succeeded Generation X -- are the most educated demographic in history. As reported by Bloomberg Business: “After flattening in the early 2000s, adult educational attainment started rising after 2006 as the oldest Millennials turned 25. The proportion with college degrees attained new highs in most subsequent years.”
Yet on the other hand, Millennials are far less prone than previous generations to feel duty-bound to donate to their school. After analyzing survey data and giving records for more than 70,000 alumni, Eduventures concluded that: “Young alumni are far less likely to give out of a sense of loyalty than their parents or grandparents. Only 27% of Millennials cite “obligation” as a top motivator for giving, compared to 50% of Baby Boomers”.
So in other words, Millennials who are graduating with a degree or diploma owe a debt to their educated predecessors – and more specifically, to their generous spirit. But generally speaking, Millennials aren’t demonstrating this gratitude by writing a check (or more aptly given this digitally-savvy group, clicking a “donate now” button). And this is more than a problem for development offices: it has the makings of a crisis. After all, if Millennials are unwilling to pay it forward, then it is a foregone conclusion that their children will even be less likely.
In response to this scenario, many development offices are allocating substantial resources to Millennial-focused campaigns, and using social media, apps, widgets, e-newsletters, and other digital channels and tools to boost engagement, interaction and sharing. This is a wise and necessary step in the right direction.
However, blitzing Millennial donors en masse with fundraising requests is not the answer. In fact, it is more likely to be counterproductive, as the recipients of these repeated emails, Tweets, Facebook posts (and so on) hit their block button or unsubscribe link. And once that happens, getting them back on the donor list may be difficult, costly, or outright impossible.
The good news is that development offices are not forced to spend more and more time and money, in order to engage fewer and fewer Millennial donors. Instead, they can use ExactAsk to re-energize and optimize their Millennial Giving Campaigns.
ExactAsk is a proprietary predictive analytics platform that analyzes online behavior, donor interaction information, and publicly available records (e.g. US Census information, etc.) in order to precisely identify:
1. The most likely dollar amount that each Millennial donor will give.
2. The willingness of each individual Millennial donor to give.
As such, development offices can target their resources not on annual givers “in general”, but towards specific Millennial individuals that have both the highest CAPACITY and WILLINGNESS to donate. This actionable intelligence directly lowers fundraising costs, while increases success rates.
- Helps development offices proactively identify major Millennial donors, so they can be elevated and cultivated up the value chain sooner and faster.
- Integrates with both online channels (e.g. email, Facebook, etc.) and traditional marketing channels (DM, telethons, etc.).
- Works across all campaign types, including (but not limited to) acquisition campaigns, renewal campaigns, upgrade campaigns, re-activation campaigns, annual giving, and recurring/sustainer gifts.
The Bottom Line
For development offices across the country, winning over the hearts, minds and wallets of Millennials is an ongoing challenge. As AchieveGuidance.com reports, 75% of surveyed Millennials said they would donate to another organization or cause before their alma mater, and 42 percent declared that they have never given to their alma mater – and never intend to. These are not uplifting statistics.
However, development offices that change their tactics – and evolve their technologies – dramatically increase their chances of breaking through to Millennials, sparking a relationship, and inspiring them to pay it forward.
To learn more about how your development office can get more engagement and higher donations from Millennials, click here.