Liz BradenWhy Millennials are the Perfect Donor

By: Liz Braden In: Donor Engagement| Next Generation

4 Jan 2012

In my humble opinion, Millennials bring together all of the aspects of a perfect donor. At Building Tomorrow and in general in my watching of the fundraising world, I have seen Millennials do some amazing things by  giving their time, talents, and resources to others and to causes they believe in. Below are the three reasons that Millennials are the perfect donor. 

1. Dollar by Dollar

First Millennials give dollar by dollar.

Even though millennials are often those who eat Easy Mac every single night, they also understand the power of every dollar they give. At Building Tomorrow we work with college-based chapters asking them to raise funds for the construction of primary schools in Uganda. A BT Academy costs $60,000 to build and you’d be hard pressed to find a college student who can write a $60k check. However we’ve seen throughout the years, college students taking that number and saying “Okay… now if every student at my school gave just $2 or $10 or $1.81 then we could build a school.”

Millennials are perfect donors because they will give what they can give, even if that’s simply the change in their pockets and they understand the impact that $1 can have.

2. Friends, friends, friends 

Second, Millennials are perfect donors because they have friends – I know shocking statement.

Millennials have that inborn itch to share with their friends what they care about, what they’re doing this weekend, what they’re reading online and how they feel about it. They want their friends to know about the cause they care about.

However, unlike other generations, a Millennial’s friend won’t just throw in $10 if asked in a form email or letter. Instead they skip the politics of giving just to be nice and actually require a reason.

Millennials utilize sharing functions on many nonprofit or fundraising sites (i.e. One Day’s Wages, DonorsChoose, Building Tomorrow) to tell their friends about causes. However the technology alone is not enough. Millennials and their friends care more about the WHY. For Millennials these functions only work if they make it about sharing stories. That’s what pulls in their friends: the personal message of why their friend cares about this cause – not just a retweet or post on Facebook.

3. They care… a whole freakin lot.

Finally, and this is pretty clear in the first two but worth saying a billion more times, Millennials CARE about their causes. Example A – Millennial Chat team member Megan Emme’s  post about what she wants most this holiday season. Megan could have picked any of the millions of causes out there. Instead she thought about what she cared about most, researched the causes, and then shared information about them to teach others about the cause.

Some of Building Tomorrow's millennial donors at UT Austin raising money dollar by dollar.

Some of Building Tomorrow's millennial donors at UT Austin raising money dollar by dollar.

Millennials will give to the causes they care about, the ones they’ve researched and found to be trustworthy. They care where nonprofits spend their money and whether or not they are getting the most bang out of their buck.

Since Millennials are the perfect donors, we have only exciting things to look forward to in the years to come. As this generation grows so will their ability to change the world – literally – by giving dollar by dollar, bringing in a community of friends, and taking the care to learn and teach others about their causes.

Liz Braden is a financial optimist at Building Tomorrow and a member of the Millenial Chat Team. This post first appeared on Millennial Chat.

5 Responses to Why Millennials are the Perfect Donor

David Jones

January 5th, 2012 at 9:17 am

Great post. What’s the best why to use Facebook to engage Millenials? DJ - Community Foundation in Petoskey, Michigan.

Nick DiCo

January 5th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

This is a fantastic post. So often do I hear that the future of philanthropy is doomed because Millennials do not “care” as much about their community as previous generations. Thanks for cross posting this from MillChat. Did not even know about it!

Liz Braden

January 6th, 2012 at 1:45 pm

@David The best way to engage millennials through social media is to post questions and create a forum where they can tell why they like a cause and how they themselves have supported the cause. My favorite use of social media is when millennials repost or share our posts and then comment alongside with what they think about it or how the story effects them. Those are the real stories and will pull in their friends, aka other millennials.

@Nick I saw on Twitter that you came across our chat. See you there next Tuesday 3:30 EST!

David Jones

January 6th, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Great Suggestion Liz. Thank you!

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January 6th, 2012 at 4:46 pm

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