In this webinar, Rachel Clemens and Caroline Fothergill of Mighty Citizen will walk through inspiring real-world examples of how nonprofit organizations are using dynamic campaigns to reach Millennials and to generate mission-fueling revenue.

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right. Rachel, Caroline, is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started?

Rachel: Yeah, let’s do it.

Steven: All right. Awesome. Well, good afternoon if you’re on the East Coast. Good morning if you’re on the West Coast or somewhere in between. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “The Donors of Tomorrow: Effective Ways to Engage Young Donors.” And my name is Steven Shattuck, and I’m the Chief Engagement Officer over here at Bloomerang, and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always.

And just a couple of housekeeping items before we get going here officially. Just want to let you all know that we are recording this session and I’ll be sending out that recording as well as the slides later on this afternoon. So, if you didn’t already get the slides or maybe you want to review the whole presentation, or if you get interrupted, you get pulled away, no worries. We’ll get all that good stuff in your hands this afternoon, I promise.

But most importantly, as you’re listening today, please feel free to use that chat box right there on your webinar screen. We’re going to try to save some time for Q&A at the end. So don’t be shy. Send in your questions, send in your comments. Introduce yourself now if you haven’t already, we’d love to know who we’re talking to, but don’t sit on those hands. Don’t be shy. You can also do that on Twitter. I’ll keep an eye on the Twitter feed if you want to send us a tweet there.

And then one last note, if you have any trouble hearing us through your computer speakers, we find that the audio by phone is usually better quality. So, if you can dial-in by phone, if you don’t mind, if that’ll be comfortable for you, try that before you totally give up on us. There’s a phone number you can dial in the email from ReadyTalk that went out about an hour or so ago today. So try that before you toss that computer out the window.

If this is your first Bloomerang webinar, I just want to say an extra special welcome to all of you folks. We do these webinars just about every week. We bring on great guests. Today is no exception. That’s one of our favorite things we do here at Bloomerang. But our core business, what we’re most known for is our donor management software. So, if you are interested in that, maybe you’re thinking of switching, coming up here before the end of the year or in 2020, check us out. You can watch a quick video demo, you can see the software in action. Don’t even have to talk to a salesperson if you don’t want.

Check that later. Don’t do that now. At least wait an hour because we got a great session in store for you, welcoming back friends of the program. We’ve got Rachel and Caroline joining us from Mighty Citizen in the beautiful Austin, Texas. Rachel, Caroline, how’s it going? Are you guys doing okay?

Rachel: We’re doing good.

Caroline: Doing good.

Rachel: Thanks for having us.

Steven: Yeah, this is awesome. Yeah, wouldn’t miss it. Rachel’s done sessions for us. We’ve had colleagues from Mighty Citizen join us. They’re awesome. I just want to plug Mighty Citizen real quick here. Awesome agency. Definitely check them out. Visit their website. They’ve got great resources, and they do a lot of really good work. We’ve got some mutual clients, and I can vouch for them personally.

Boy, this is a great presentation. I got a peek at the slides earlier this week. There’s some really interesting data in here. And I’ve seen Rachel speak. She’s done webinars for us, and she’s got her partner in crime, Caroline with us here. So this is going to be a good one. I don’t want to take any more time away from you two friends. So I’m going to hand the reins to you to tell us all about The Donors of Tomorrow. So take it away, my friend.

Rachel: Yeah. So thanks for joining us today. We’re going to talk about The Donors of Tomorrow, primarily because we want to really talk about the long-term sustainability of your nonprofits. What we find happens is the clients that we work with, they’re not often talking about reaching younger audiences. But they should be because most of our clients, at least, I’m guessing, this is the same for many of you, most of your donations are coming from major gifts donations and that means they’re probably coming from older generations.

And so what’s going to happen in 20 or 25 years, you really want to be going ahead and building connections with your younger audiences, so that that pipeline is going to continue for you. It really is a long-term strategy and an effort to build relationships. And you’ll have to decide how much effort you want to put in upfront to engage with the audience because it is going to take a little bit of work they do. They live in a little bit different places, and we’ll talk about that today.

I’m wanting to mention that, I was telling a friend, I was doing that session on Millennials and Gen Z, and she was like, “Ugh, Millennials.” And I want to say that I don’t think she meant like Millennials, that she was annoyed with them. I think she meant she was sick of talking about them. Millennials have been around a while now and . . .

Caroline: We’re old news.

Rachel: Yeah, maybe. You’re definitely not the new kids on the block anymore. But more so that she was sick of talking about them. But I would argue we actually aren’t talking about them enough. And as much as we’re talking about young donors today, I’m really talking about Millennials and Gen Z, but you may find that you would define it slightly differently. We’ve seen a lot of nonprofits or several nonprofits that define it as under 50, which thrills me to no end. I will happily be a young donor in your category because I am in my 40s.

Okay. So let’s move forward. I’m Rachel Clemens. I’m the Chief Marketing Officer here at Mighty Citizen. And Steven gave us the really kind intro, but generally, Mighty Citizen does branding, digital, and marketing for nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations including higher ed and associations. We generally help our clients with their messaging, their branding, their websites, their fundraising campaigns, basically anything communications-related, we have experience with it. And some of our clients include Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, United Way, Meals on Wheels, etc. Caroline, do you want to give an intro?

Caroline: Sure. Hello everyone. My name is Caroline Fothergill. And my role at Mighty Citizen is as a marketing strategist, I primarily focus on digital marketing and I am the token young donor on the line today, the Millennial voice.

Rachel: Well, this is funny because we did a session together at AFP International back in the spring and when I submitted the topic, the AFP was like, “Yes, you’re accepted on the condition that you speak with an actual young person as a co-speaker.” And I was like, “Wow.” Because they don’t ask you your age when you submit these proposals. All they had to go on was my photo. But clearly, they decided that I was not young enough. So I actually do think it makes for better session to have the Millennial voice in the room.

So, by the end of the session today, you’ll know what motivates young audiences, what they really want from nonprofits and from brands and organizations in general. And we’ll take a look at how we can create effective campaigns that really tap into these generations, engage them, with the ultimate goal to move them to donorship or to make a donation to our organization. I want to do a quick poll, and I’ll send you to the poll here in a minute, but I’m going to ask you what generation you are. So let’s open up the poll here. Are you a Boomer, a Gen X’er, Millennial, Gen Z’er, or are you not quite sure? There’s something called Cuspers. And Cuspers tend to be those people that are right in the middle.

Caroline: And are very defiant about not being one of [inaudible 00:07:34].

Rachel: Yeah. They have a strong preference for which one they are. So I’m imagining that some of you not sure might be either Cuspers or you’re trying to figure out exactly what the dates are, which I’ll share with you in a minute. So it looks like the majority of our audience just slightly is Gen X, whew. Represent Gen X. We got almost the same number. Oh, actually Millennials and Gen X are fighting out for dominance here and Boomers are not far behind them. So what I’m seeing here is we really do have a wide range of generations present and we have some Gen Zs. We’ve got a couple of Gen Zs here represented as well. So I’ll be interested to hear what you all think about this.

Okay. I have to say this. Anytime you were talking about generalizations, we are talking about our generations then you are talking about generalizations. What I mean by that is, no two Millennials are exactly alike, no two Gen Z’ers are exactly alike. So we will be making some generalizations. And the reason they break down generations is basically to try to give them some similarities and characteristics that define them. And so we’re talking about those today.

What we won’t be doing is bashing young people, which has been happening. And you’ll notice here since the 8th century. This is a quote from Hesiod, he was a writer, Greek writer. And it says, “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today.” Again, centuries, ages of just youth bashing. And we won’t be doing that today.

Caroline: And makes me feel a lot better actually.

Rachel: [inaudible 00:09:10] be good.

Caroline: It’s not just that.

Rachel: No, it’s not just . . . we’ve never been . . . we were slackers. That was what they called us, so don’t worry about it. Okay. So let’s take a look at actually understanding these young audiences. When we’re talking about Millennials, generally, we’re talking about 1980 until about 1994. I would say these numbers are pretty close, but they may not be exact. It depends on the studies that you’re looking at. But they are ranging, that means that our oldest Millennials are almost 40, so welcome to the club. And our youngest are really about 25. So they’re in the early stages of their careers. And you think about life change between 25 and 40, it can be pretty drastic. So just know that they are wide-ranging.

Some people call Millennials entitled, they call them hipsters, and they call them visionaries. So perhaps they are all of these things on some level. And again, we’re generalizing, but just we’ll be talking today about what they really are looking for, and I think they are visionaries.

For Gen Z, they range from roughly 1995 to about 2010. This number is even fuzzier for this generation because it’s so new. If you think about the timeframe of that if you’ll notice the phone that Cher is using in this photo against her head.

Caroline: Yeah, from “Clueless.”

Rachel: This is a phone we had in 1995. Ten years later, iPhones are around. So a huge shift just in the technology and the devices that we are using and that have been introduced during this generation upbringing. So are they social media addicts or are they activists? They grew up in the age of social media. They really look at influencers and celebrities. So, oftentimes, you know, like I have a kid who is from 2010 and he follows people on YouTube potentially that I don’t even know who they are. They’re not typical what we grew up looking at as celebrities.

Regardless of your generation, the average American has . . . or sorry, the average human being has an attention span of 8.25 seconds. That is it. That number in about 2000 was 13 seconds. So you can see the difference just in the last almost 20 years with all the new devices and things that we have available to us, how much more distracted we are. That is less than a goldfish. Goldfish is around nine seconds. We’re not doing so hot here, are we, Caroline?

Let’s talk generally about these generations and what they have in common. They understand technology. They grew with it. They expect you to understand it as well. They are diverse and they celebrate their diversity. These generations are the first generations that are most likely to select others on a census form. They are diverse and they want to be recognized as that.

They’re used to being marketed too. They understand what marketing looks like even when we call it content, which I think a lot of us are doing now. We’re just generating content or generating marketing and they know it. They get their news and social views from . . . or sorry, they get their news and views from social networks. I would say I get a lot of my news from social networks as well. So that is changing across the board. But especially, with these generations, they don’t first learn about something from the radio, from TV, like older generations might have done.

They want to build the . . . better the world and their communities. They are visionaries. They’re looking to make a change and we can tap into that. They want stories to build connections. This is across the board too. Stories are human connection builders that we’ve had stories as long as we’ve been complaining about young people. Think of ways that you can bring stories into your organization.

And then lastly, they give mostly on mobile in small and spontaneous bursts. We call it here at Mighty Citizen fits of charity. And so often they will have a fit of charity and something they’ve seen on social or elsewhere and make a small quick donation.

Just to back some of this up and give you guys some data. The source for this is Blackbaud’s 2018 Next Generation Giving report. I’m going to reference this a few times. They did it in 2018 and then they also did it in 2013. And so you’re looking at a chart here of how generally, generationally these donors are giving in terms of self-reported donors. So these are people who have said, I have donated. And you’ll notice the darker color is 2013’s number and the lighter purple is 2018’s number.

So what I want to call out here is that Gen Zs on the map. They’ve come about in the last five years or so in terms of being donors. And Millennials are giving almost as much in terms of self-reporting as Gen X. And the other thing to take away is that they are still generationally giving less in terms of sheer numbers than Boomers, Matures, and Gen X.

Another view from that report, just to give you a sense of the percent of total giving. So total dollars giving to organizations, 41% are provided by Boomers, 20% by Matures, which is the generation older than Boomers, and 23% from Gen X. So, we are still . . . the older generations are still contributing about 86% . . . 84% of total donations, with Millennials giving 14% and Gen Z giving 2%. So they’re making up about 16% currently. But I also want you to look at the chart on the right and see that it’s Gen X, Millennials, and will start to be Gen Z that is showing their numbers increasing.

So where Boomers and Matures are dropping in terms of their percentage of total giving, the younger generations are increasing. So, if you’re in your org and you’re trying to make the case that like, these generations are worth putting some effort into, I’m hoping these charts will help you take the data to make that case.

Let’s talk a little bit about Gen Z. This is from Classy. And they refer to Gen Z as the philanthrokids. And I just want to say, yes, our generation has arrived. All of us in the mission-driven space can really look forward, I think to Gen Z and the promise that they bring to us. Gen Z will make up 40% of all customers and therefore potentially 40% of all potential donors by 2020. Twenty-six percent of those aged 15 and 19 volunteers. So they’re active in their communities. Sixty percent want their work to make a difference. That is great in terms of recruitment for you guys.

And if you’re in the environmental space, take heart, 76% are worried about the planet, which is fortunate for the rest of us because they’re probably going to have to be the ones to get us out of this. Also, they are predicted to prefer mobile apps for giving. And I just want to say it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go out and get an app. Most nonprofits and mission-driven organizations don’t necessarily need to create an app, but just that you’re online giving experience works really well. So just a couple of points there to get us all excited about what’s potentially coming.

Also, from that Blackbaud study, Millennials tend to give to worship, children, local social services, health, and animal, while Gen Z gives to themselves. No, they give to children, animals, health, worship, and then local social service. A couple of things to know about these younger generations in general, they prefer words like ally, advocate, activist. They want those empowering words that really show the importance of their work.

For many young people increasing the quality of life for others is more important than a personal connection to the cause. A lot of them are young and may not have had the adversity hit them yet. And so they may not have personal connections necessarily, but they do believe in this idea of lifting all boats. They also believe in large social issues. If you think about March for Our Lives, the climate strikes that happened last month, those are really led by this younger audience. They’re feeling empowered to make the change and taking charge.

I would encourage you to listen to your data in terms of what these audiences want from you. If you have a good donor database and system hopefully, you have age ranges or birth years in there. And so you can break out your audiences by generation and see what they’re telling you. So, if you can break out a younger audience, say, under 40, you can see what their channel preferences are, what their content preferences are, what time of year they tend to give. My guess is they’re probably end-of-year givers or other things that might be triggering or types of campaigns that have worked well for them in the past. If you ran your typical annual campaign and you noticed a lot of younger donors gave this year, what may be changed the pique of their interest. And I would consider segmenting your audiences generationally. So, if you’re looking to potentially tap into this audience more, consider running the campaign specifically to them. I’ll hand it over to Caroline for the young donor’s perspective.

Caroline: Okay. Hello everyone. Just for some context. I am 28 years old, born in ’91, so I’m a younger millennial, I guess. And when I first did this presentation with Rachel, I honestly didn’t know who I was giving to or how much or when, which really shows the change. Like, my whole life growing up, my parents would sit down at the table every November, and duke it out, and figure out where they were giving for the year. And it was usually the same places every year. And what Rachel said about spontaneous small fits of charity, is absolutely more my style. So I thought it might be helpful to actually look back at an entire year. And I went through all my bank accounts for the entirety of 2018 to see where did I give, how much, and to what causes. And here’s the breakdown.

I was in grad school, wrapping up grad school in these years. I did not have a lot of income to throw around in my defense, but I gave to five organizations and this year. These were all one-time gifts. And you can see that these were all very much in response to social, and political, and environmental happenings. Women’s health is an issue that I’m really passionate about. Only one of these was an organization that I had given to in the past, and that I’d actually volunteered with, and engaged with. The rest were just as new as the result of doing research online.

And I want to tell a little story about one of these gifts in particular, which was the disaster relief gift. When the horrible Camp Fire was raging in California, we were all hearing about it every day on the radio. It was all over the internet and I’ve been hearing about it for a couple of weeks, but it was one Instagram post that finally inspired me to make a gift. And this post you see on the left, this is what you would call a micro-influencer. She is like a lifestyle blogger with a few thousand followers. I don’t really have a close personal connection to her, but I just like her stuff. And she posted that she was going to drive down to California from Portland to rescue a bunch of displaced animals and bring them and put them in the shelters back in Portland. And this just really got me, this is what put me over the edge. I clicked the link in her bio, to her GoFundMe page, and I went to make a donation. Oh, but they wanted me to create an account. Oh, and the form was really long.

And it was 10:30 at night. I was in bed. I didn’t have my credit card next to me and I was like, “I’ll just do it in the morning.” And then three or four days later I realized, “Oh, crap, I never made that donation.” And instead of going back through my original path back to that post, I just went straight to GoFundMe. And I ended up spending like an hour looking through it. You can see they had all of these California fire campaigns featured and I finally ended up just giving to one of the generic Red Cross fundraisers on there. So this cumbersome experience delayed my gifts. It ended up changing the nature of my gift and it almost deterred me from giving it all. And I think that really highlights that these spontaneous fits require a really seamless online giving experience in order for us to follow through.

So, to start, just talking a little bit about your donation form itself, for years, everyone has said that your website has to be mobile-friendly or mobile responsive, but it really needs to be mobile-first at this point. Most of our clients are hitting a threshold where 50% of their traffic is on desktop and 50% is on mobile. And we’re seeing that mobile is actually surpassing desktop for a lot of nonprofits. And this idea that people shop around on mobile and then make a purchase on their laptop or desktop, is also going away. I think that at least three or four of those five gifts I made in 2018 were made directly on my phone. This is also what Google wants for SEO. They’re actually crawling and indexing websites and ranking websites based on the mobile experience.

So, if you want to be found for people searching around your cause area, your mobile experience has to be really seamless and keep it simple. Remember my Camp Fire story, if you need to force someone to create an account, limit it to the fields that you really are going to use right away to segment your communication. Don’t ask for my address. If you’re not going to mail me something, don’t ask for my phone number if you’re not going to call me. And you can always follow up and ask more questions later right after I’ve given when I’m feeling really good about my gift and would be happy to share more information.

Rachel: I think that’s a good point. I’m going to pause here because someone actually asked, how do you recommend capturing the age of your donors? And so I think what Caroline’s alluding to is, don’t ask me in the donation form because we want that to be simple, quick, move really quickly. But on that thank you page, we could be asking questions like have a little survey. They feel really good when they just donated. They’re more likely to answer those questions in that fit of charity. So asking on your thank you page might be an option for capturing some of that demographic information, age being one of them. You can also follow up with a little micro survey via email after a gift. I’ve seen that and really responded to that personally.

Caroline: Yeah. That’s smart. And I’m seeing more than birthday’s becoming the third or fourth thing that people are asking more important than address, or phone, or title, or these more traditional fields that aren’t really that useful sometimes. And then once I’ve actually made a gift on your thank you page, give me something to share. The stereotype about our generations wanting a lot of recognition is true. I will admit. It’s just the way we operate. We want to share with our social circles that we did something charitable and that’s free marketing for you and the most powerful kind of marketing word of mouth. So give me a petition, or a video, or a graphic, or a hashtag, or something on that thank you page that helps me go and humble brag about the fact that I gave it to you.

And lastly, we all want to push recurring giving and figure out how to get younger people into our monthly giving programs. And I think the key here is to model your monthly giving program after a traditional subscription model. I mean, my friends have subscriptions for dog toys, toothbrushes, underwear, socks, food, virtually everything. And we want to give the same way, where we just see a small amount coming out every month and we’re going to really get something in return.

Of course, an amazing example of this is Charity: Water. We’re all probably sick of using them as an example because they’re so wonderful, but they have really figured this out, and they have a reoccurring giving program that specifically targets Millennials and Gen Z. And you can see this webpage is completely devoted to monthly giving. There’s no toggle option between one time and monthly. And the call to action here is to give month after month until every single person on this planet has clean water. And there’s a mini-documentary on here explaining that this really is a tangible and achievable goal if everyone just gives a little bit every month. And then they clearly lay out what you get in return. And I love that monthly good news is one of the things that . . .

Rachel: Who doesn’t want monthly good news?

Caroline: Right. And you can see how your donation is being put to work with real-time updates from around the world. And they really do the work to back this up. They’ll send custom videos or a post on social saying, “Caroline, look what you’ve helped us do. We’re transporting this well.” Or even if it’s a small thing, you feel really involved.

Rachel: I think the reason everybody points to Charity: Water is, they do a really good job. So, like if you’re looking for ideas like go steal from them, they’re clearly doing the testing to make sure that what they’re doing is working. So, like, go and take ideas from what they’re doing. I say steal, I don’t mean steal content, steal design. I mean steal idea.

Caroline: Concepts.

Rachel: Concepts.

Caroline: Rachel is going to talk about design in a little bit, but I also feel like they were the first ones to come out and show you can look really good and people aren’t going to question or be . . .

Rachel: These generations for sure.

Caroline: Right. We want it all to be beautiful to look at. Here’s another example of nudging the monthly gift. This is one of our clients, Meals on Wheels of Central Texas. And this is right on their homepage. We’ve got this little donation bubble and monthly is set as the default here. And of course, a user can manually choose to make a one-time gift instead. But the other note I would make here is that they knew that they wanted to recruit more young donors and volunteers. So we slapped a beautiful photo of the young volunteer right on the homepage. And that shows me right away when I go there, this is a place for me. There are other people like me who are getting involved.

Okay. Let’s talk about social media y’all. Some people will probably sign off. I know, but I specifically want to talk about, how do you use social for fundraising? And before we do that, I just want to make a quick disclaimer or get on a soapbox for a second to say, this requires upkeep. You can’t just run some social ads or a campaign if someone’s going to click to your profile, and you haven’t posted in a year, and your picture’s blurry. It also requires doing the continuous work to have a presence and build a following. But I’m mainly going to focus on fundraising campaigns for the purposes of this.

So just to gauge what we’re working with here, we have another little poll. I’m curious to know how many social platforms your organization is on. And if you think about it, there are really seven big ones now. LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest. Lots of different [inaudible 00:29:04]. Yeah, I don’t know who I’m forgetting. But think about all of those and how many your organization has an account on. And I’m just curious to see what we’re working with here.


Caroline: Yeah, get those numbers in. Okay. So it looks like a pretty even split between the 1 to 3 and the 4 to 5 categories. Yeah. Most of you have 1 to 3, which I would say is the best place to be. For those of you who have 4 or 5, I would encourage you to audit. Are they all really working?

Rachel: Or to make sure you have a full-time social media person, right.

Caroline: Devoted to managing that. Yeah. Are you even actually able to post across all of them? Cool. Thanks for sharing that. If your goal on social is to engage with young people and cultivate those relationships, just be in a couple of places and do it well. And it may require some user research to identify within “young donors” who specifically is going to align with your cause? Maybe it’s Gen Z’ers who are really passionate about climate change specifically. So then choose the two social platforms that those guys are on the most and just honor the format of those platforms and do it well.

I think a lot of people say, “Oh, well, I can just use this graphic across all six and it’ll be easy.” But it actually takes so much time to do that, and it doesn’t end up looking that great. And this may require doing a little bit of digging to build your following too. And just a little pro tip, a lot of CRMs have something called a social lookup functionality, where based on the emails and contact information that you have, it can go in hunt, kind of creepy, and find those people’s social media profiles so that you can go follow them, invite them to follow you back. And that’s a really great way to build a base following as people who already know you. And then, when you’re on social, as always test, test, test. It’s really a matter of trial and error and that can be frustrating. But you can just put small spend into testing things out with ad campaigns. And don’t be afraid to just try things out.

Just to reference the data again quickly, this is another shot from that Blackbaud report and this actually shows not only the breakdown of what percentage of each generation is on each platform, but what percentage is engaging with a charity on that platform at least once a month. So that’s some really interesting information and those numbers are quite high. And it is cool to see that where some have a lot of overlap like Instagram, virtually every Gen Z’er is on Snapchat and it’s more like half for Millennials. So you really do have to identify who you’re going after.

Rachel: And also want to point out that young people are still on Facebook.

Caroline: They are, that’s [demand 00:32:00].

Rachel: You’re hearing like, they’re running because their parents and grandparents are on Facebook. But no, they’re still there.

Caroline: They’re posting differently on Facebook knowing that mom might see that.

Rachel: Very true.

Caroline: And that’s happening more on Instagram too, where I’m seeing like my little cousin is posting very different things on Instagram than she is on Snapchat because her mom’s on Instagram. So, yeah, that’s good to know. Before we talk about some campaigns and examples, just a couple of things that you should be continuously doing on social. The first is recognizing your donors, especially the young ones who you know are going to reshare the recognition. So say thank you in a shareable Instagram worthy way. Not to say you can’t make a phone call to personally thank someone for gifts, but I either want to receive something physical that I can post a picture up or something digital.

Like this graphic is an example of our work with United Way for Greater Austin on a fundraising campaign, where we gave them the template to be able to turn out these graphics, thanking these donors, posting these, and tagging the person. And these would always get reshared by that person because then you can kind of go, “Oh, look, thanks so much United Way.” And you don’t have to be the one shining the light on yourself.

Rachel: Someone bragging for you.

Caroline: Exactly, exactly. Aside from recognition, another low lift way to get people involved is through social activism. It’s definitely the millennial stereotype that we want to post one of these Twibbons over our profile picture, but we’re not actually going to donate or do anything beyond that. Right? And to some extent that’s true, but this is how you get us involved in the door. So giving us things like this that we can do to align with your cause will absolutely pay off later.

So let’s talk through each of the major platforms and how to honor the platform and use them for fundraising with the younger folks. Starting with Facebook. When I think of Facebook, I really think of peer-to-peer. They were the first platform to come out and release all of these fundraising options and since they added a donate button to Facebook, more than a billion dollars have been raised for charities on Facebook. So that’s insane. And the first year that they launched the birthday fundraiser, it raised over $300 million. That tool alone. So this is not pennies. And older people are running Facebook fundraisers too, but there’s no harm trying this out and even promoting it via email to say, “Hey, donate your birthday to us or around this awareness day, or week, or month, we want you to host a small Facebook fundraiser for our charity.”

Rachel: Charity: Water was the first one to really do the birthday thing. So, again, just going back to them as an example.

Caroline: Yeah, for sure. Okay. Instagram. Oh, this picture of Ricky Bobby.

Rachel: Ricky Bobby. Who doesn’t want to donate to Ricky Bobby?

Caroline: Of course, it’s easier when animals are your cause, but Instagram is very, very visual and design is key on here. It doesn’t need to look super professional like this photo on the right. But it does need to have a focal point and be emotive and then you can have clear texts, calls to action right on your Instagram graphics. But storytelling is really, really key. And you can have a long caption if you think about like Humans of New York, their captions are a mile long, but they tell a great story so people read them and get immersed.

Speaking of stories, within Instagram now they have Instagram stories, which some of you might shy away from because you’re like, “Why am I going to call this work into something that disappears in 24 hours?” And I get that that can be frustrating. But I saw an email this morning that a billion people are posting stories on Facebook and Instagram every single day. It’s surpassing traditional posts, and it ensures that you’re off the top of someone’s Instagram feed. Whereas if you just post a traditional post, it gets lost really quickly. These are always across the top and you really can tell a rich story.

This is an example from an immigration group, where they’re explaining what it’s like to be an asylum seeker, the different barriers and hoops that you have to jump through, and really what that is like on a day-to-day basis. And you can add a donation sticker at the end of the story once someone’s already immersed and that would absolutely spark a fit of charity.

Another really nice example of this is tying into an existing awareness week or month. I love this. This is from a polar bear protection organization that tied into National Poetry Month, which may seem unconventional, but they are posting stories with poems about polar bears. And had these running like throughout the month-long campaign. And I think as a young person, I would see this and go, “That’s so creative and I’d be delighted.” And that’s the thing we’re swiping and scrolling so much. We need to be surprised, and delighted, and taken off-guard.

Now as of last summer, you can also solicit donations directly within Instagram. This is called the donation sticker, and it’s as easy as posting a story and adding this little sticker to your own post or encouraging your community or influencers to do the same and you can get up to a $2,500 donation directly with an Instagram this way and they’re not charging any service fees or processing fees for this. So this is an example of a celebrity influencer posting a donation sticker on her story and people have seen this to be really, really successful already.

Okay. Okay. Moving onto Snapchat, which is the similar format to Instagram stories, right? You post an image or a video that might go away or does go away within 24 hours.

Rachel: Now, it’s like a few seconds.

Caroline: Yeah, disappears for good. Yes, it would only be a few seconds at a time. And Snapchat scares Millennials. Now we’ve retreated and given it to Gen Z, we are like, “This is your ground, you take over. We’re leaving.” But a lot of Instagram story content could easily be repurposed on Snapchat. This is where Gen Z is hiding from their parents and interacting the most. And this is a really nice example of a campaign on Snapchat that looks so curated. And so it really stood out from user-generated content.

This is World Wildlife Fund. They took beautiful images of endangered species with the copy, “Don’t let this be my #LastSelfie.” So they’re obviously tying into a cultural thing that resonates with young people and they hit their 30-day fundraising goal within three days running this campaign. So social really can convert if you surprise and delight young people because they’re seeing so much content.

Okay, let’s switch over to Twitter. Twitter is this strange beast and generally, I wouldn’t tell a client to try to fundraise on Twitter, but the exception to that is when you can tie into an existing hashtag or trend and really capitalize on that because people are already paying attention. This is an amazing example of that. This is a group, Water is Life, and they use the #firstworldproblems. So people posting obnoxious things like, I don’t have the perfect sneakers to match my outfit today. And they transpose those tweets over photos of their beneficiaries in third world countries. So this is too small to read, but the tweet here says, “Sat in the front row of the movie theater and now my neck is sore.” And it’s paired with this photo. So it makes you go, phew.

Rachel: It’s perfect.

Caroline: Yeah, it’s truly perfect. And they ran a whole slew of these graphics with that hashtag over the course of three months and they raised a significant amount over a million dollars over the course of that three-month campaign. MeToo was another obvious example of something taking off on Twitter be just because the hashtag catches fire. So, if you can figure out how to tap in, even if it doesn’t seem like the most direct tie, you might be able to do something really clever.

And then lastly, YouTube, I feel like it is sitting in the shadows right now, but I think that’s going to change soon. I mean, if you think about it, it’s the most popular social platform in terms of usage and the second largest search engine in the world. I think it’s 50% of Gen Z’ers on Facebook and it’s like 85% who are using YouTube on a daily basis. Advertising on YouTube is cheap, and it’s actually proven to be really effective because you can target people based on the video content they’re consuming. So, if they’re watching a lot of videos about social justice issues, you can target them with a donation card. Like, you can see on the left-hand photo here, they can make native donations right within YouTube. Again, no service fees.

And another function they added last year was this Superchat for Good, which I haven’t seen a lot of nonprofits tap into yet. But it’s basically the ability to host a live fundraiser or option and people can give a gift, they can chat a message. And this would be going on live for as long as you stream. You’d need to promote this a lot upfront to make sure people are actually going to show up. But it could be a really fun way, especially if you have a national or international reach to give people an opportunity to feel like they’re physically together and a part of the community.

Okay. So that’s a lot. Feel free to chime in with questions regarding social and I’m going to pass it back to Rachel to talk about good design.

Rachel: Yeah. So Caroline alluded to this a little bit earlier, but young people really expect fresh and good design. If you think about it, they grew up in the Apple age and when we think of Apple, we just think of things that are beautifully designed both in terms of how they’re used and in terms of their aesthetics. Design is no longer a differentiator. It’s the cost of entry. It used to be that if your stuff didn’t look that good, there were a lot of people that didn’t look that good either. And so, if you looked really good, that would help you stand out. Now it’s expected that you will just look good.

There are so many options out there for things like Canva or PicMonkey that make it easier to look good. And a lot of our younger audiences are Gen Z. They’re coming out with those skills, which they . . . Like my son’s using Google Slides for his homework. And so he’s learning how to add flames to things actually. Very helpful, but they’re playing with these softwares much easier.

Also, they just really want to be delighted. You’ve mentioned that a couple of times and I’ll give you a great example of this. This is the donation page for [inaudible 00:43:27]. A nonprofit called Saturday Place. They do camps for kids on Saturdays. And, when you land on this donation page, the text at the top says, “I will tip the scale in their favor.” It is overwhelmingly empowering. Like, I have the potential to really make a difference in their lives. And then you’ll notice it says, “I will give $100.” You can change the amount in that box.

You can also see the little slider along the bottom. You can change your amount down there. Or you can use the categories on the left to change your dollar amount. And depending on what you put in, it’s going to change the graphics so that it shows . . . right now it’s $100 of apples. You’re providing basics. If you go up to $500 . . . between $500 and $1,000, you’re providing an experience. Those are things like field trips. And then if you’d give over 2,500, you’re providing them future. So this is just a great example of how design and content are working together to marry and provide delight. So just a good example of that.

Young donors want to be included. So this is some data from the Millennial Impact Report and it shows that they really want to get involved through volunteerism. It has been found that these generations find more . . . they have higher engagement scores through volunteering versus donation. And that’s something that’s different in the older generations. They tend to feel more engaged when they’re donating. This generation feels more engaged when it’s volunteering.

So 65% are more likely to volunteer if coworkers do. There are 69% more likely to give if there’s a company match. But that’s really important for you guys that have corporate partners. They’re looking for ways to integrate with their communities in terms of giving. Their employees are expecting that of them. So this is some really great information to help them get involved and to get their younger employees involved.

Seventy-seven percent are more likely to volunteer if they can use specific skills. If you think about these audiences, specifically the Gen Z that is coming up and into the workforce, they’re young in their careers and they are looking for ways to build their book of work. So, if you have a writer . . . if you need writing, there are people out there that are looking to donate or provide their writing skills to you. Same thing with design. Social media might be a good opportunity for that to think of ways that you can engage them. And to get specific skills that you need in return, they’re going to help build their experience.

They really want inclusion to experiences. In general, they believe in the power of collective action. Again, we have seen this with March for Their Lives . . . or March for Our Lives and those sort of things. They’re more involved through participation. Again, they see a higher engagement rate through participation than donating. They are very much interested in peer-to-peer fundraising. When we look at things like fundraisers on social or on Facebook, that’s a peer to peer gift and they’re looking for those opportunities and willing to support their friends and their values. They are looking for peer giving groups. If you do not have a young audience, young leadership society, or whatever you might call it, they are looking to join giving groups for networking opportunities. Again, early in their careers, looking to build their connections.

And then just in general, having young people involved in your nonprofit lends authenticity to your nonprofit. Young people beget young people. So you want them engaged and showing that you are legitimately interested in them.

Caroline: I’ll just add that a lot of organizations don’t have a young board because they know that they won’t be able to make the gift or fundraise on the level of their older board members. But to that I would say, you’re grooming them to be able to do that and ask their friends in 5 or 10 years.

Rachel: Yeah. They’re looking to grow those networks that they may not have right now. Right? Think about how you can include them in events. If you could think about the kind of events that have come up over the last 15 years or so, they vary between Color Run, Margarita Run, Santa Run, there’s always a run. Always something weird, where you get dressed up [crosstalk 00:47:51] with your cocktails, share it with their friends. They’re looking for those fun experiences. November is a great example of that. It just took off. This image is from our local CASA. They do a Superhero Run every year. All the young kids get dressed up. Their young parents take them. Talking about a way to engage Gen Z, which is often a challenge.

Also, consider satellite parties for your larger events. If you have a gala, where the tickets cost 250 bucks, 500 bucks, younger audiences just don’t have those resources potentially. So Robinhood Foundation does a good job at this. They’ll host their gala and then they’ll have down the street, a pub party for younger audiences, a sister event. And then also give them images that they can share. So you’ll notice that photo booths are everywhere now. That’s probably somewhat a byproduct of social media. People are looking for opportunities to share images.

Also, and this is really hard for the brand managers among us, consider how you can include them in your brand, how you can give them some ownership of your brand. So young audiences really want to see the brand as an extension of themselves and their values. They’re not just going to wear a free t-shirt because they got it for free. They’re going to wear it because it says something about how they feel about the world or what they’re aligned with. And they are very particular about the brands that they choose.

You want to try to give them a part that they can own. So this is an example from that same United Way of Greater Austin giving campaign, where we created a frame that people could stand behind at events. And so it just allows them to engage and put that on social. That’s something really different and unusual. And you’ll see there’s middle school or particularly, high school kids posing with it here.

Also, just want to look at that campaign. It was a fill in the blank campaign, where people that interacted with it could fill it in as it made sense for them. So United Way would use it for things like your support makes Austin greater or giving back. And then people also use it for things like live music or queso, things that tied into Austin and our community. And then again for things like people’s pictures or Rachel makes Austin greater. If I go and meet with them, they’d write that in on their business card when they met with me because they had the blank. So just looking for ways to allow people to have some sort of ownership or at least experience with your brand.

Carrying that a little bit further, I look at how corporations were tying into that brand as well. So, on the left, it says, Deloitte makes Austin greater. This was chalked into a sidewalk at a volunteer event. And on the right, Samsung makes Austin greater. Gen Z’s familiar with United Way. We’ll know that they do a lot of employee giving campaigns. So this is the break room wall at Samsung, where the people that were participating in the campaign wrote in what makes Austin greater to them. So, again, you’ll see how this is giving them ownership over the United Way brand. This is an example that works really well physically and on social too. Like, they could screenshot that template and then just draw, fill in their thing. Yeah.

And then also, for United Way specifically, we did a mural called, “You’re My Butter Half.” It’s just a love letter back to the city from United Way. But this thing has taken off in all kinds of ways, people coming and posing in front of the mural. When we started . . . when we first did the mural, it had a nice big patch of grass in front of it. Now it’s like dirt, just from the number of people that have stood in front of it and taken photos. So people use it for their events, their graduation, engagement, pop-up weddings, and even older people enjoy the mural as well. Just think of ways that you can tie in with the community.

And then as Caroline also alluded to, finding ways to include younger people on your board or potentially, your committees. You may need to help them with financial assistance. Meaning, there’s often that give or get mentality around boards and they may not have the network yet to raise enough money to meet that threshold. But offering them a smaller amount or something like that, where they can begin that process of engaging with you in that more serious way.

They will also offer a more diverse board potentially in race, but also in age. Just their viewpoints on things are different. And I hear a lot from nonprofits. We’ve got a really old white board. And so that’s just not what the people look like any more in totality. So we need to find ways to integrate that diversity of thought. And they may push you to think differently and hopefully, they will push you to think differently, and to offer some ideas.

Let’s take a quick look at takeaways and next steps for you guys. Remember that technological prowess is crucial. As Caroline said, make it really easy. Don’t make her get out of bed to get that credit card across the room or you might flip through credit cards, but make it really easy, where it’s like not all these other things that are getting in the way as well. Make it super simple for them and easy to do. Good design is now the cost of entry. You cannot look bad. When you look bad, you create doubt and you never want to create doubt, especially nonprofit. You don’t want to look like a fuddy-duddy. You want to look like you’re with it and sticking up. That was a really old person.

Caroline: Fuddy-duddy, I know about that.

Rachel: He’s Gen X [inaudible 00:53:37], maybe older. Take note of for-profit trends, for example, the subscription model. What are other orgs doing that or giving people cause for delight? Let young people participate and shape your campaigns and give them an opportunity to get engaged with your nonprofit both in terms of volunteering, donating, and also just participating.

And then the final kicker is just that most of these best practices benefit everyone. There is not a Boomer that wants a tech not to work. Right. Making things easier for younger people generally also makes things easier for everyone.

So I’ll quickly mention thank you. Thanks for joining us. We’re going to get to questions in a minute. I did want to mention, you can grab the slides as well as some other tools including a marketing campaign strategy templates. If you think you want to actually reach out, do a campaign geared toward younger audiences, this template’s going to ask you all the questions you need to fill that out and to get going on that.

And then we also have a fundraising campaign metrics template. So, if you’re running a fundraising campaign officially here at the end of the year, it has lots of things you can track to see where your campaign was successful.

Caroline: And the donor survey guide. If you need to do some research to figure out which young people to target in the first place.

Rachel: That’s right. Or who are your young people? And those are assets slides or asset Bloomerang URL We have other tools and templates at So I think I’ll pause here and Steven, if you want to jump in with any questions that we can answer.

Steven: Yeah, we got a few questions here. But first, I just want to thank you two. This was awesome. I knew it was going to be good. I’m kind of skeptical about presentations about Millennials, but I knew this one was going to be different and definitely fits a bill, while you hit on things that I never see when we’re talking about Millennials. So, hopefully, all of you got some nuggets taken away here. I definitely did. I cannot stress enough what Caroline said about volunteering and monthly gifts. I mean, our generation is so, so used to 7 bucks for Netflix and $12 for Spotify like that. I really think that could be the secret formula for the Millennial giving too. So wow, awesome. Well, we got some time for questions. If you haven’t asked your question yet, do it now because we’ve got some good ones in here.

Here’s a couple of interesting questions. One here is from Mimi, I’m wondering, how do you get the data on these folks in terms of their age after the fact? Should you be doing, screening services? Should you be maybe looking them up on social media and maybe trying to figure out what age they are? Should you ask them? I know you mentioned the surveys after the gift. What’s a good mechanism for maybe collecting that demographic information from your donors? What do you think there?

Rachel: Yeah. So I mentioned the thank you page, which can be a really great place to ask these things. I’ve also seen . . . I donated to ASPCA and they did a little email survey immediately after and it had . . . it was graphically pleasing and it was basically asking . . . I think it may be asked like, are you a cat or a dog lover? And I was like, “Well, both.” But that was enough to get me to click. And then it just had four really quick questions and I knew why they were asking. But they captured it, which I think is true. We want to better meet your needs. Tell us what you’re interested in. Steven, did you just close . . . are we still with you?

Steven: Yeah, I can hear. Can you hear me?

Rachel: Sorry. Our webinar software closed on it. So [inaudible 00:57:29].

Steven: Okay.

Caroline: Another thing you can do if people aren’t responding via email is actually set up your website. So, if they’re returning users, they see a prompt to take a survey right on your website. Computers are smart and they can figure it out on the backend if someone’s visited before. So they might not all necessarily be donors, but that might be a cool thing to try for a few months just to see what kind of [behaviors 00:57:52] you get.

Steven: That’s cool. I like that.

Rachel: [inaudible 00:57:57].

Steven: This was from Linda. Oh, go ahead.

Rachel: Go ahead. Oh, I was going to say, you can always run a donor survey. So, included in that URL, we have a guide for donor surveys and you can always ask people later. It’s just might be better to try to get them while they’re currently engaging.

Steven: I love it. I love donor surveys. I love it. Any recommendation for surveys, I’m down for it. Here’s one from Linda, asking about design. Is it possible to look too professional in some of your things you put out? She’s curious about maybe authenticity versus maybe something that looks a little too polished perhaps that maybe related to photography, video, not just graphic design. Any insight there? I mean, you’re a design firm, so what have you found is a sweet spot?

Caroline: Yeah. I would say the answer is no, but that there’s a difference between looking really polish and looking stuffy. As long as it . . . I mean, we look at influencer posts that are gorgeous and perfectly set up all day long. So, as long as it reflects young people, shows young people, and feels authentic, I think the better the design, the better off.

Rachel: I feel like [inaudible 00:59:11] something we used to hear from older generation. I don’t want this fancy mail [inaudible 00:59:16] because you sent too much [inaudible 00:59:17].

Steven: Oh, yeah.

Rachel: I mean, I don’t know what research is out there about that, but anecdotally, we just had not heard that from our audiences.

Caroline: Yeah. We’ve learned in school more that the money needs to be spent on marketing and that that’s a good investment. So I don’t think we’re as snooty about those overhead costs or whatever that mentality was.

Steven: Okay. That makes sense. Wow. I feel like I could talk about this stuff all day. It’s 3:00 at the top of the hour. I want to be respectful of all of your schedules. But would you two be willing to maybe take questions maybe by email or Twitter or how can folks reach out to you? Is that cool?

Rachel: Yeah, that’d be great. On Twitter we’re @youaremighty and via email, I’m at And Caroline’s at, which is on our bio.

Caroline: But I’ll go hang out on our Twitter account for a bit if people want to ask some questions over it.

Steven: Oh, fun. Yeah, definitely do that. They’re obviously a wealth of knowledge. There are some really cool resources on that URL you see on your screen, They got templates, they got guides, they got a guide to Google Ad Grant, a fundraising campaign template, digital fundraising, case studies. They got some really cool stuff in there. So look at that. That’s maybe where you really spend your next hour, but awesome resources there. And wow, this is just a joy to have you two. I love hearing from Mighty Citizen and this one didn’t disappoint, so thank you both. Thanks for doing this.

Rachel: Thanks, Steven. Thanks for having us.

Caroline: Thanks, everybody.

Steven: Yeah. We have got some awesome sessions coming up. We got a special spooky Halloween session for you next Thursday, October 31st, the great Jeff Brooks. This is a rare public appearance by my buddy, Jeff. He’s going to be talking about fundraising myths that should scare you. So we’re definitely keeping it on brand on Halloween day. So, if you are not trick or treating that afternoon, join us. It’s going to be a really awesome session, Jeff’s awesome. Don’t want to miss that one. Totally free. I think that that’s next Thursday. Next Thursday, 2:00 p.m. Eastern, join us. If you’re busy, that’s okay. We’ve got other sessions coming up all through the end of the year. We’ve even got some scheduled into 2020 already, can hardly believe it, but we would love to see you on another Bloomerang webinar.

So look for the slides and the recording from me later on this afternoon. I’ll get that out today I promise. And hopefully, we’ll see you again on another session soon. So have a good rest of your week. Have a good weekend and we will talk to you again soon. Bye now.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.