Online Fundraising
January 31, 2022

5 Ways to Attract Younger Donors for an Online Nonprofit Fundraiser

The younger generation is the future. And while your charity may be thriving on the donations of older generations, Millennials and Gen-Z definitely warrant your attention because they make up more than half of the North American population and are always looking for ways to make a difference. 

According to Zelle’s September Consumer Payment Behaviors report, nearly three out of every four Millennials donated to family, friends, or a charity from the beginning of the pandemic, bringing their donation figures to 74 percent. This is the highest giving rate recorded in any of the generations, followed by Gen-Z at 66 percent. Millennials’ donations make up over 11 percent of total giving in the U.S. while Gen-Z has a combined purchasing power of $44 billion and is highly motivated to change the world.

Growing up with technological advancements means the younger generation has cultivated its own unique ways of connecting with charities and causes that they are passionate about. While data indicates that seniors still give more heavily through direct mail, young people prefer to use their handheld devices for everything including choosing their charities, interacting with them and learning about their work, and finally donating to them. 

Donor segments

Understanding the difference between various donor segments is important for many reasons, but mainly because it allows charities and nonprofits to focus on key support groups and reinvent their marketing to appeal to them. Key donor segments you should know about are:

  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964): This segment represent 43% of all donations. Their online giving and social media use continue to increase while a major portion of this group still prefers direct mail when it comes to donating to a charity. 
  • Generation X (born between 1965-1980): Almost half of the population in this donor segment is enrolled in a monthly giving program. This generation gives more frequently than other age groups and prefers donating and connecting with their favorite charities and nonprofits online. 
  • Generation Y or Millennials (born between 1981-1995): According to the Pew Research Center, this generation became the largest living generation in 2019, outpacing the Baby Boomers. 84 percent of this generation gives to charity. Donations are estimated to be an average of $481 per year, per person. 
  • Generation Z (born in 1996 and later): Gen Z is the youngest of the groups and growing up were exposed to economic instability and various global challenges. This generation is eager to make this world a better place.
  • Generation Alpha (Gen-A): This generation includes anyone born between 2010 and 2025. They are one of the most materially empowered generations of all time and have brand influence and purchasing power that goes far beyond their years

Related: How to Segment Donors: Tips for Nonprofits

5 strategies to attract younger donors

Young people are hungry to change the world—for the better—whether it’s through their finances or via volunteerism. Although they may not be as financially wealthy as the older generations, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Here are some ways to attract younger donors to contribute to your charity or nonprofit:

1. Be social media savvy 

The younger generation has practically grown up using mobile devices. Millennials and Gen-Z prefer online interaction and choose to connect with their favorite businesses, friends, and charities on social platforms. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, almost 88 percent of all 18-29 year olds regularly use social media platforms. This means charities and NPOs need to be intelligent with how they are showing up on their social media. With most channels having significantly reduced their organic reach, a good place to start is by creating great content and creating an advertising budget. 

Related: How to Use Social Media to Maximize Return on Investment (ROI) from Fundraisers

According to Hootsuite, the younger generation, particularly Gen-Zers, have developed a high tolerance for digital ads. It is also important to catchy videos, incorporate storytelling from the perspectives of the communities you are impacting, and leverage the power of social media influencers for optimum results. 

2. Organize engaging fundraisers like online raffles

Online gaming-based fundraisers such as 50/50 raffles are a fun and engaging way to raise money. They present a great opportunity for charities and nonprofits to connect with a younger donor base that prefers to interact online. Gaming-based fundraisers offer a chance for donors to win money, making them an attractive option across age groups. 

50/50 raffle: This is an online raffle where participants buy tickets to take part in the raffle. The jackpot consists of 50% of the ticket sales while the remaining 50% goes to the nonprofit hosting the raffle. So this means each week as you sell more tickets, the jackpot keeps on growing. This is what creates excitement.

Catch the Ace: This is a raffle with a weekly draw where the weekly winner receives a percentage of the week's proceeds from ticket sales. In addition, there is a progressive jackpot that keeps on growing each week and is won by the person who catches the Ace of Spades—this means there are two ways to win.

Related: A Nonprofit’s Guide to Setting Up an Online Raffle with Ease

These gaming-based fundraisers can not only help retain existing donors, but also expand your charity’s reach, increase your donor base, and overall raise more funds. According to a OneCause study, 62 percent of nonprofits that converted to a virtual event saw great success and were able to raise as per their fundraising goals or exceed them. 

Related: An Introduction to Online Gaming-based Fundraising for Nonprofits

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3. Have a mobile-friendly donation page

Millennials and Gen-Zers love their handheld devices and rely on them completely for everything important. Having a mobile-friendly donation page is a must if you want to convert the younger demographic. This is just one aspect of your entire online experience. According to research by Classy, 25 percent of young people complete donations using their mobile devices, making it a key area to include in your marketing strategy. 

Related: 6 Tips to Increase Your Donation Page Conversion Rate

4. Offer multiple options to donate online

Making it easy for the younger generations to make a contribution means offering them multiple options to donate online. Here are some approaches you could consider: 

  • Text-to-give campaign: This usually entails sending them a text message requesting a contribution. Users can then choose to donate a specific amount as they hit reply. 
  • Enable recurring donations: These online campaigns allow charities to automate a big portion of their incomes. Supporters can sign up for monthly or quarterly giving programs with a specified amount that will be donated regularly. This takes away the need to reach out regularly to request donations and creates a reliable monthly income.
  • Workplace giving: With companies diving deeper into social good, charities can find corporate partners and make use of their CSR initiatives to create new or align existing 'giving programs'. This allows employees to have an affordable, efficient, and easy way to make tax-deductible donations to causes that are important to them. 
  • Fundraisers: With the world having transitioned online after the pandemic, online fundraisers offer a great opportunity to involve the younger generations in a fun and engaging way to raise money. These involve everything from online auctions to raffle draws, virtual marathons, and more. 

5. Offer volunteering opportunities

Young people want to do more than just offer financial support to causes that they are passionate about—they want to be involved. Share details on your donation page relating to how people can volunteer for your nonprofit or charity. The number of Millennials volunteering every year is growing. 

A study found that 46 percent of millennials donate to causes they care about. People are naturally more inclined to donate to causes that they are personally involved with. Volunteer programs build loyalty and offer a great way for young people to spread the word about your charity or nonprofit.

Targeting a younger donor base isn’t all that complicated. At the very core of it lies a solid understanding of who you’re speaking with and then creating content and promotional strategies that match that persona. If you can successfully showcase how your charity or nonprofit is changing lives and impacting communities and combine it with a tech-savvy online presence, your charity will be able to successfully attract and retain young donors with confidence.

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