In recent articles, we have focused on how higher education fundraising departments and other nonprofits can engage Millennials (and young alumni), build a relationship, and use various tools and systems – including predictive analytics – to cultivate as many as possible into major, lifelong donors.Along the way, we also shattered a few myths that continue to cling to Millennials, such as that they are frugal, stingy, or simply too self-absorbed to care about the world beyond their gadgets and grande frappucinos. On the contrary, Millennials are surprisingly generous, deeply idealistic, and certainly do “put their money where their mouth is” as far as supporting causes they believe in. Achieve’s Millennial Impact Report found that 84% of Millennials made a charitable donation in 2014, and 7 in 10 volunteered an hour of their time. And Blackbaud’s Next Generation of American Giving found that the average Millennial donation was $481.
However, just as businesses need to engage customers on their terms in order to maximize revenues, nonprofits need to engage Millennials in a manner that respects their preferences in order to maximize lifetime donations. With this in mind, below we highlight some key ways that Millennials consume content. Appreciating these preferences will help nonprofits when creating, executing and optimizing their campaigns.
Millennials typically consume the most content between 8pm and midnight. As such, nonprofits may want to adjust their content publishing cycles to they are pushing out fresh content to their blog, Facebook page, and other platforms late in the afternoon, and therefore making any additions or adjustments in the morning. It also suggests that nonprofits may want to set aside time in the early morning to handle (what is hopefully) a flood of comments, likes, inquiries, and so on.
Unsurprisingly, Millennials consume a great deal of content on their mobile device; usually a smartphone, but increasingly on tablets as well. The implication here is clear: nonprofits simply must ensure that their website is compatible with mobile devices, operating systems and browsers. At the same time, they must constantly re-test their website to ensure that it is easy, user friendly and fast (i.e. page load).
Millennials tend to be interested in blog posts and articles (around 400 words is the preferred length), infographics, videos, and comments. It may come to you as a surprise that they are NOT as interested in white papers and slideshows., which at times are effective to help enhance a blog post or article, such as highlighting how donation dollars are being put to good use.
The Bottom Line
Naturally, the above are guidelines and principles – not carved-in-stone rules that must be applied at all times, and in every situation. However, in our experience they are good pointers to help nonprofits reach Millennials on their terms; and that can make all the difference between building a long-term mutually rewarding relationship, or failing to make an impression and connection at all.