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6/13/22 8:43 AM lecture de 8 min

Philanthropic organization: the importance of reaching out to millennials

If millennials aren't part of your typical donor profiles, they inevitably will become one day. Millennials - also known as Generation Y - already account for the largest number of employees in the workforce and will become the most important donor segment to solicit in the coming years.

Building your brand awareness with this generation may take some time: they need emotional stimulation, seek transparency and support high-impact philanthropic causes. Soon, they will be your primary donor base. It is therefore essential to know them, to understand their social needs and motivations. So, who is this generation and how do you engage them in your fundraising activities? Our philanthropic marketing experts take stock.


Portrait of millennials: a hyperconnected generation

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. Just as baby boomers were the generation of the first televisions, and Generation X was the generation of the first computers, the "Ys" were born during the internet boom. These generational characteristics directly influence the behavior of your donors.

Millennials overwhelmingly want to interact through social media and are more likely to discover and be engaged by an organization via the digital space. The advantages of these online channels include:

  • The immediacy and personalization of interactions
  • The abundance of rich, value-added content
  • The immediate and, above all, measurable impact

This generation attaches its values and interests to the brands it interacts with. This affection creates lasting bonds and loyalty to social brands. Among the key interests of millennials, here are 7 that stand out:

  1. Animal rights
  2. Sustainable development
  3. Climate change
  4. Anti-racist causes
  5. Inclusion
  6. Feminism
  7. LGBTQ+ rights
Is your association or foundation closely or remotely related to any of these themes? If so, it's time to think about how to engage your donors of tomorrow!


How to engage millennials in your cause?


Create relevant and value-added content

As content creators themselves, your messages and visuals must be of high quality to capture the attention of millennials. They are constantly bombarded by ads and publications of all kinds. So, step away from general content and think about a value proposition that will pique their interest, even engagement. For example, a Facebook post for a donation appeal is too vague, but a post that explains or demonstrates the impact of their donation brings value and credibility to your content. Your potential donor will feel challenged by the difference he/she can have on your cause. Take note: this generation is eager to make a difference in the world and have a positive impact on their community.


Tell your story: make your storytelling shine

To emotionally touch your donors, storytelling becomes your preferred communication tool. This practice allows you to engage your audience by telling a story, illustrating a concrete problem or formulating a solution that they can identify with. Storytelling allows you to transform attention into rallying around your social mission!

By the way, if you are interested in this subject, this article might be of interest to you.

Le storytelling

Be authentic and unique

In a world where everything seems to be perfect on social media, stand out for your authenticity. To do this, it' s imperative to communicate with honesty and transparency. Here are some recommendations:

  • Share your achievements as well as your challenges
  • Give your donors and members of your organization a voice
  • Communicate your social values and purpose
  • Provide concrete evidence of donor impact on your social mission


Use the right digital channels

As mentioned above, digital channels, particularly social networks, offer tremendous opportunities to engage millennials. According to one study, millennials are:




on Facebook on Instagram on TikTok

Remember that each social media is used differently and has different communication goals. Focus on testimonials and photos on Facebook. For great photos or short videos of activities in the field or impact on your social mission, focus on Instagram and TikTok.

Les médias sociauxWhen it comes to longer, full-length videos, YouTube remains a great way to engage millennials, with nearly 72% of them using the platform.


What type of fundraising campaign to use?


Peer-to-peer campaigns

Peer-to-peer (P2P) is a strategy where your donors become ambassadors for your social mission. They will do the fundraising for your organization. The beauty of P2P is that an ambassador is more trusted by those around him or her than anyone else. Since millennials are constantly interacting with their digital community, this type of campaign is a goldmine of visibility for your foundation.


Being used to mobile applications and state-of-the-art websites, this generation is very demanding in terms of user experience. It is therefore important to use a customizable fundraising tool to meet their requirements.



An online store for the sale of promotional items

The sale of promotional items to raise donations is still an under-used method for philanthropic foundations. Yet, it is extremely effective in engaging millennials. These objects allow them to be seen as ambassadors and prove their commitment to your cause to their entire circle of friends and colleagues.

Keep in mind that this generation cares about the environment and sustainable development. Your promotional items should be in line with these interests. If you want to know more about online business and philanthropy, it's HERE.


Online and in-person philanthropic events

Some youth cannot afford to be monthly or regular donors. However, they are always looking for the next fun or rewarding experience. Events provide an opportunity to sporadically solicit their contributions. In addition, the lack of social contact caused by the pandemic has generated a craze for the return of face-to-face events. Events related to sports and nature are of particular interest to them. Here are some interesting ideas:

  • A peer-to-peer campaign based on a team sports challenge
  • A benefit concert or outdoor activity
  • An evening of networking for young entrepreneurs
  • A cocktail party or a vernissage

Don't forget to promote your philanthropic events on social media and develop an email marketing strategy to maximize the appeal of your events. You'll reach participants more easily and increase your digital reach tenfold.


Don't underestimate the importance that millennials will have on the philanthropic world. Reach out to them in an authentic way with campaigns tailored to their characteristics and through the right channels.
Trust us, you'll gain loyal donors!



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