6 Ways Nonprofits Can Engage Millennials

With the love that millennials show for both technology and social causes, is it any surprise that they prefer to donate online and use technology to find volunteer opportunities? Some of you may even be asking yourselves, “Is there even another way to reach out?” If so, you probably are a millennial. Millennials now form the biggest cohort in US history, even bigger than baby boomers. So, what does this mean for nonprofits?

1. Let them participate in your cause

Millennials spend an exorbitant amount of time on their smartphones, over two hours a day. That means there are plenty of ways you can let them participate in your cause. With the help of your own mobile app, if you are going to organize a charity event, you can inform those nearby using location-specific push notifications. Event details like directions, parking info, activities, accommodations, food and more can also be integrated into the app. You can even give users a tool within the app that lets your donors host a fundraising event on their own.

2. Take advantage of the social clout

To reach out to millennials and get them involved, take advantage of their social clout. Given the social connections available on a mobile device, a user has the potential to influence literally thousands across various social networks.

In a peer group, hearing from a friend about a charity motivates them to volunteer, donate and raise funds to organizations they care about. For example, consider the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised a whopping $115 million in just six weeks. Before this highly successful viral campaign on social media, ALS was hardly raising funds for its cause. Since it was able to spark interest on social media, and word of mouth such as friends challenging other friends, the campaign was able to succeed.

3. Create a relationship

Relationships are important to millennials. Whether it’s friends, family or brands, they have grown up with being connected to all three 24/7 via social media platforms and tech devices. A sudden, direct request for donation, participation or an annual report without making them feel like they’re part of the cause and the organization is going to put them off. The key is to connect to this audience on a deeper and more consistent level.

A native app gives you chance to foster your relationship with your audience. Show them the difference their money and effort is making in real-time. Use rich media like dynamic video content, send them personalized in-app messages or push notifications, and take advantage of geotagging to remind them of their past volunteering activity to re-engage them.

4. Have the option for impulsive donation

With on demand TV, streaming movies, instant messaging and social media, millennials have increasingly come to expect and demand instant gratification of their consumer needs. No matter what the situation, they look for and want immediate results.

Given many millennials have their smartphones and tablets frequently on hand and there’s an added ease of payment through mobile devices, donations become much easier with a native mobile app. With the spread of mobile payment systems like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Facebook Messenger’s peer-to-peer payment feature, donating has never been made easier.

5. Keep them updated

Millennials are often loyal to causes that they are passionate about and are used to staying in touch with said causes. Nonprofits need to do more than simply send them an occasional holiday card — they need to personalize and value their relationship together. Reach out to them regularly to let them know where their money went and thank them for their continued support. You can integrate videos showing millennials how the money was utilized and how it transformed somebody’s life to better build up a personal connection with your organization.

6. Go beyond the usual

Gamification has the power to open a new world of opportunities for nonprofits. However, it’s important to understand that gamification is not just about playing a game but rather about the psychology around it such as rewards and recognition.

There are numerous ways one can incorporate gamification into an app. For example, you can gamify a campaign, launch an app to raise awareness about your cause, and give your users rewards or a social badge for helping out with the cause. Or you can collaborate with games that are social in nature such as Pokémon Go to report environmental issues. Pokémon Go has used its platform to form meetups for players where they get rewarded for attending the events, and this is a good opportunity for nonprofits to engage with users at the events or tie themselves into the event in unique ways.

Nikunj Sanghvi is a technology executive with experience ranging from hands-on development to managing multimillion dollar consulting businesses, leading all aspects from sales and business development to operations and delivery. Delivering beautiful and useful digital solutions is not just a job for him, but a passion. He is currently the Head of sales and Business Development at Robosoft Technologies.