Note: Maxi Anderson, 18, is a recent graduate of All Saints Episcopal School and is an incoming freshman at the University of Oklahoma. She is part of the Generation Y/Millennial age group, which is loosely identified as being born after 1979. We asked Maxi to write her opinion after reading The 2013 Millennial Impact Report.
I recently read “The 2013 Millennial Impact Report” from The Millennial Impact Research Project. I think that every nonprofit organization could benefit from reading this report because it helps to understand the Millennial generation and how we are likely to give.
Because we may not have significant financial resources, younger people are not usually recruited by nonprofits. Organizations are more focused on raising funds, and they may think they do not have the time or interest to engage Millennials. I think this is a huge mistake, as we are the future, and I personally feel that Millennials give the most important thing we have to an organization: our time. Time invested now will pay dividends in the long run.
The report also states that while we may not have a lot of money to give, 52 percent of Millennials are willing to give a monthly gift of up to $50.00. It is important that we know where our money is going and that the money is really helping people. Personally, I love to be involved and see how I am actually making a difference.
Once I (or most anyone my age) get inspired or become passionate about a cause, it becomes all I want to talk about with others. Millennials work to make organizations the best they can be, and I love visiting the organizations to see firsthand what the organizations are doing.
To attract Millennials, nonprofits need to know that social media will more than likely play a prominent role. According to The Millennial Impact Report, 83 percent of Millennials have a smartphone, and 75 percent will use social media to “like,” retweet, or share content.
The report also highlights that my generation uses our smartphones to find out about an organization’s online presence. If a website is outdated, our interest is probably immediately lost. On the whole, Millennials are visual, and organizations need to use more pictures and graphics on their websites and in social media. The more interest, the more sharing which helps to spread the word about a cause. People then become passionate and have the desire to help.
For the most part, this report is right on point in that most nonprofits are missing a huge opportunity with the next generation. The only concept I disagree with is the report’s finding on the importance of activism and signing petitions. I believe my generation is more interested in becoming personally involved instead of signing a piece of paper.
Overall, nonprofits are risking their future by ignoring millennials. Millennials will give time and passion to an organization now and likely stay engaged with that organization into the future. And when we reach middle age and perhaps have more money to give, it is likely we will already be engaged in the organizations to which we will give.
I think this is an opportunity that nonprofits are missing dramatically, and the report should be an eye opener for any nonprofit. Millennials are the future of nonprofits. Invest time in us now and one day, we will make your organization stronger and better equipped for the future.