Dominique Calixte will equip you with the knowledge and resources to include Millennials and Gen Z in your fundraising strategy successfully.

Full Transcript:

Steven: Okay, Dom. I got 3:00 Eastern. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started officially?

Dominique: Let’s get this party started.

Steven: All right. Awesome. Well, good afternoon, everybody. If you are watching the recording, I hope you’re having a good day, no matter when and where you are. We are here to talk about how to tap into Gen Y and Gen Z donors. That’s right. They exist and they have some expendable income. We’re going to talk about all those things. I’m Steven. I’m over here at Bloomerang, and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always. 

And just a couple of real quick housekeeping items, just want to let you all know that we are recording the session and we’ll be sending out the slides and the recording a little bit later on this afternoon. So if you have to leave early or maybe you get interrupted or something comes up, don’t worry, we’ll get you all that good stuff and you’ll be able to review the content on your own time. But most importantly, please feel free to chat in any questions or comments you have along the way. We’re going to save some time at the end for Q&A. So don’t be shy. There’s a chat box, there’s a Q&A box. So you can use any of those. We would love to hear from you. So don’t be shy. Don’t sit on those hands. You can even tweet us. I’ll keep an eye on the Twitter feed as well. So don’t be afraid to send us a message, however you want to do that.

And if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, just want to say an extra special welcome to you folks. In addition to doing all these webinars, we do these webinars every Thursday. We love it. Great guests. Today is no exception by any means. But if you’ve never heard of Bloomerang beyond our webinars, we are also a provider of donor management software. So if you’re interested in that or just curious, you can check out our website. We’re pretty easy to find. There’s all kinds of videos and stuff you can watch. But don’t do that right now because, dang, I’m super excited to welcome a first-timer to the Bloomerang webinar series. Hopefully it won’t be the last time. We’ve got Dominique Calixte joining us from beautiful Boston, Massachusetts. Dom, how are you doing? You doing okay?

Dominique: I am doing great. I’m super excited to be here and thank you for having me. Like you said, this is my first Bloomerang webinar and I’m hoping not my last too.

Steven: No. I don’t think it will be. We’ve been getting to know each other for the past few months. I mean, anyone from Massachusetts, my home state is a friend of mine. But Dom is awesome. If you all don’t know her, you’re going to want to follow her online. I have a feeling that if you listen to any fundraising podcast or read any fundraising blog or publication, you’re probably going to see her name if you haven’t already. Her day job, she’s over at the YW Boston. That’s the oldest YW, right, Dom? Have I got that right? That’s like the OG.

Dominique: Yeah. We are the OGs. We are the first YW. So we’re over 150 years old now.

Steven: That’s awesome. Yeah. Super involved in the YW world. So if any of you listening are also at a YW, definitely follow Dom. She’s their associate director of annual giving and special events. Also a board member. All over the place. She’s a board member for the YNPN in Boston for the Massachusetts Chapter of Democrats for Education Reform. She’s super involved in the AFP chapter there in Massachusetts. And it’s just awesome. Every time I see a blog post or a byline from her, I zoom right in on that and read it before I move on with my day. So you don’t want to hear from me, you all want to hear from Dom, so I’m going to stop sharing and we’ll let you, Dom, bring up your beautiful slides to see if you’re going to . . .

Dominique: Yeah. I’m going to bring up my slides. And while I’m doing that, I’m going to say hello to my . . . I see that I have someone from the YW in Hartford. So love you, Carol. I saw your message. Let’s definitely connect. But, again, I’m so excited to be here with you all. Again, I am going to talk about how to identify and pull from your philanthropic bench, really tapping into your Gen Y and Gen Z donors. And so we already started to talk a little bit about myself. You know I’m over at the YW Boston. I come to you today with about six years of fundraising experience, traditionally, and lots of other additional nonprofit experience as well. I like to say that I have been in this nonprofit thing for a real long time and I’m true to the game at this point.

So as Steven mentioned earlier, I’m a member of YNPN Boston. So in addition to just being involved at my own organization, I am really focused on trying to, you know, make sure our sector is continuing to bring in new talent that is ready to be a part of the sector so that we can make an impact. And then as Steven mentioned, I’m really involved with my AFP chapter. I’m on the idea board, I’m on the education committee, but I’m also a part of women development. So I know there a few of the folks from women in development and reached out and said they would be on the call, so hello to you all. I’m on the program committee there. And then most significantly today, I want to let you know that I’m a millennial. I know I mentioned it earlier, but I’m a millennial, I’m a part of Gen Y and that’s why this topic is really important to me because I’ve definitely seen it on both sides as a fundraiser.

I’ve seen how I am interacting with millennials and Gen Z in the nonprofit space and I also see how nonprofits have begun to interact with me. And I’m going to just be upfront. It’s very little because I’m a millennial. I’m pretty sure of it because I don’t get stewarded at all. And I have put myself in the position to be stewarded for sure. So let’s talk about what we’ll get into today. So we’re going to talk about home and Gen Z are as a cohort. We’re going to talk about the relationship with millennials and Gen Z with nonprofits and what they want to see in their relationship with nonprofits. We’re also going to talk about tips for identifying Gen Y and Gen Z constituents and then how to engage them once you have identified them. So that’s the lay of our land. We’ll have some time at the end for questions and we’re going to get right into it.

And so you’re probably wondering why I was like we’re going to pull for our philanthropic bench. And well, you guys heard I’m from Boston. I take my Boston sports very serious. Steve takes his Boston sports very serious. I promise there will be a Boston sports reference. So here we are and we’re going to talk about Bill Belichick’s outlook on teams and why it’s important and relevant to this conversation. So Bill Belichick says that on a team, it’s not the strength of an individual player, but it’s the strength of the unit and how they all function together. And with your nonprofits, when you’re talking about your fundraising, I like to think of the fundraisers for your organization as the coach, you’re building out this team and you want to make sure that you have a team that has different strengths.

And so really looking at each of the different cohorts and their strengths and what they’re able to bring to your organization when it comes to engagement and fundraising is really important here. And that’s why we’re really looking at who you have on your philanthropic bench. And so, like I said, the different cohorts, the Gen Z, the millennial, they all have their different characteristics and things that they have gone through that make up how they interact with nonprofits. And so with that being said, each of these cohorts contribute to your fundraising team that you’re creating as a fundraiser because they’re going to be able to engage in different ways and bring different assets to your team. So that’s why we’re looking at your philanthropic bench right now. And so before I get into that, I’m going to bring up the chat and see who do you guys think is on your organizations’ philanthropic bench.

I know from me over at the YW, we are really looking at our millennials and looking at how to engage them more as we are trying to pull from our philanthropic bench. Let’s see what some of you guys are saying. I see boomers. I feel like there are some organizations that are starting to lean towards focusing more on millennials and forgetting about the boomers and the assets that they can bring. I would say lots of boomers and the silent ones and like Gen X, definitely. So it really depends on your nonprofit and what the particular needs are there. This is hilarious because I can’t close the chat because this little bar is up here. Okay. We’re moving it. Wonderful. And so, yeah. So I know that with every organization, they’re going to have their own different needs when it comes to who is on their philanthropic bench, but most commonly, you’re going to see that in terms of your philanthropic bench, you’re going to see millennials and you’re going to see Gen Z are on most nonprofits’ philanthropic benches.

And so before we get into the nitty-gritty about the millennials and the Gen Z, I wanted to kind of give us some ground setting here on who these two cohorts are and what is significant about them. And so it’s important to note that with these demographic cohorts, oftentimes people try and think that as people age, they’re going to age out of a cohort. They do not. So I’m a millennial and I will forever be a millennial because I was born between the years of 1981 and 1996. So I will always be a millennial and I will always have the characteristics that kind of come with being a millennial because of my lived experience as a millennial growing up.

And so key things about millennials is that we are the cohort. And I will say we a lot because, remember, I am a millennial. We are the cohort that comes after Gen X. We are the cohort that went through the digital age. So I have seen all the phases of technology and advancement in technology because they were happening in real time as I was growing up. And so that’s going to be significant when you’re thinking about millennials and how to engage them and what their experience is. 

The other thing about millennials that is important to note that people tend to forget is that millennials are in the workforce. We are completely in the workforce at this point and we’re about a third of the workforce right now as we’re speaking in this moment. And so people tend to think millennials are too young to think about engaging with nonprofits. Well, I’m here to tell you we’re not too young because the oldest millennials in their 40s and they’re ready to engage and they’re probably decision makers at organizations that you might want to engage with. So it’s important to start building those relationships with those millennials.

Now let’s talk about Gen Z. Gen Z obviously will come after the millennials. Millennials are also known as Gen Y. So X, Y, Z. That’s how we got here. And it’s short for generation Z, of course. And so they’re the cohort that is coming from the mid to late ’90s to the early 2000, getting into the 2010 era. And so with that cohort, by the time that they were like growing up and getting involved in things, we were deep into technological advancement. And so with that being said, they spent a lot of time understanding technology and it affected how they communicate and how people see how they communicate, which is also going to be a significant when it comes time to start thinking about how to engage with this particular demographic cohort.

And so for people who are like, “Well, are they old enough for us to start engaging with?” Yes. There’s a number of reasons why they’re old enough for you to start engaging with them. But most importantly, the oldest member of this cohort is about 25 years old at this point. So that means that we have some Gen Z in the workforce already, and they’re engaging with organization and they’re sitting on the sidelines, on the bench waiting for their turn in the game. And so that’s where this conversation is going. We’re going to start to talk about things that are important to know about these two cohorts so that when it’s time to put them in the game, you know how to best use their skills and their assets with your organization.

And so before we get into how to use them and what to do, part of the reason why, you know, millennials and Gen Z are not often looked at or engaged with it’s because there’s some common misconceptions when it comes to millennials and Gen Z. And so I’m going to talk through some of the ones that I know are most common and the ones that I am always trying to debunk, but I’m sure you guys can think of plenty of other ones and feel free to talk amongst yourselves in the chat and talk about other misconceptions that you have seen when it comes to millennials and Gen Z. 

So the first one that I’m always like, that is not true, and I am evidence of it, is that millennials and Gen Z are lazy. Folks tend to think that these cohorts are lazy because they will try and “find their way out” of doing something because they don’t think it serves them or they have some reasoning for not wanting to do something and people associate them not wanting to do it as them being lazy as opposed to them not looking at what is going to be a benefit to them and to the person that is asking for that thing.

Then the other thing that is often talked about when it comes to millennials and Gen Z is the fact that there is a lack of commitment. And that really stems from the fact that with both these cohorts, you often see that they will jump around from place to place, from job to job, which is very different from our counterparts that are boomers and our Xers, where they have gone into the workforce and oftentimes they’ve gone in and they have stayed at one organization and that’s where they’ll retire. Whereas I am a millennial and I’ve already had about five different organizations that I’ve worked with at this point. And that’s both pre-graduating college, that’s after graduating college. So I have moved around and I am trying to make sure that I’m getting the best of my experience so that I’m able to bring my best experience to whatever organization I am working with. And so that’s not a lack of commitment. That’s a commitment to an impact into the work versus a commitment to a particular organization.

The other thing is that oftentimes because of the way that millennials think about the way that they’re going to move about society and how they’re going to support organizations, it’s often said that millennials are self-centered and entitled because they spend a lot of time thinking about themselves as opposed to thinking about the organization. And that really comes from the fact that at this point millennials and Gen Z are really focused on not particular organizations because those organizations aren’t necessarily tied to impact for them. And what they’re going to be focused on is impact.

The other thing that often gets said is that millennials are incompetent and they don’t care. And that we can debunk like off the sheer fact that millennials and Gen Z have been engaging with organizations at high rates. It’s just that while they’re engaging with these organizations, they’re not having organizations reciprocate their engagement. 

And then the other thing which is big because millennials have grown through the digital age and Gen Z has spent all their time with technology is the fact that people tend to think that these two cohorts only communicate online. And that’s the only way that you’ll get to them. And that’s not true. While we definitely do communicate online, we are also able to communicate in other ways, and because you’re limiting your scope in how you’re communicating with millennials and Gen Z, that is going to force you to limit the scope of the things that millennials and Gen Z are seeing from your organization because not everything will translate well online in terms of showing the impact of your organization in a way that is conducive to how Gen Z and Gen Y want to see things.

And so now that we kind of talk about the misconceptions, I really want to talk about why you should spend some time identifying millennials and Gen Z in your constituent pools that you can engage with. One of the big things is that millennials and Gen Z are very passionate about issues. And first of all, that’s like your ideal constituent. You want somebody who’s passionate about the issues because you know they’re going to be committed to the work. And so with these two cohorts, they are committed to the cause. And because they’re committed to the cause, they’re not necessarily going to be committed to your particular organization or a particular person at your organization. They’re going to be committed to the work that is being done for the cause. And so as they’re committed to the work that’s being done for the cause that’s something that you need to know as opposed to focusing on building a relationship that focuses on building a relationship with a particular person or the organization, you want to focus on building a relationship that relates to the issues and the cause at hand.

And because they’re so passionate about the issues, they’re already known for donating to several charities and engaging in philanthropic efforts, and they’re giving money in ways that they think are going to be most impactful, which brings me to my next point, or the fact that millennials and Gen Z, they tend to be hyper-connected. And that comes from the fact that you spent a lot of time on the online world. And I know you’re saying, “Well, Dom, you just said that they don’t only communicate online.” We don’t. But also being able to communicate online has allowed us to be able to connect with people from all different parts of our lives. So I’m able to connect with somebody that I knew years ago and stay up to date with them because I’m able to connect with them via different online platforms. And so because we’re hyper-connected, that allows me and any other Gen Z or Gen Y person to influence their peers to engage with nonprofits and then that will lend itself to tools that are helpful to nonprofits like crowdfunding and raising awareness through social shares because they’re going to want to amplify the work if they see that it’s making an impact on the issue.

The next thing that’s important about Gen Y and Gen Z folks is the fact that we have a lot of hard skills and we’re ready to share those skills with the social sector if you let us. Like we are ready and we want to advise on social media strategies and engagement strategies. I often, I think join boards because I’m like, “Well, I have ideas that I can share with this organization that would really be beneficial because of the type of work that they’re doing and like this is the type of engagement that I’ve seen work when it comes to this area.” And so using your time with millennials and Gen Z to really look into their hard skills and their soft skills at that, that they can offer to your organization is going to be one of one really great way to engage with these two cohorts. 

The other thing with these cohorts is we really want to be heard. Oftentimes these two cohorts, their opinions are not validated because opinions tend to be tied to dollars. And quite frankly, I want the whole nonprofit sector to kind of move away from tying the value of an opinion to the dollar amount that they give because sometimes some of the most valued opinions is going to come from somebody who’s giving at a lower level because they have a lived experience. And that often is the case with millennials and Gen Z. They have a lot of lived experience that our Gen Xers and our boomers haven’t gone through that they want to bring to the table so that nonprofits are able to really start to think about how to use that information so that they’re better able to be sustainable across a longer period of time. 

And then finally, the other thing with these two cohorts is they’re really generous, like absolutely generous. But the thing about their generosity is they’re looking at generosity as more than just, “I’m giving my dollars here.” When a Gen X, or a Gen Y, or a Gen Z person is coming to a person and saying, “I’m a philanthropic person,” they’re not just talking about their dollars. They’re also talking about their time, their talent. And they’re really focused on making sure that all the things they’re doing contribute to building a philanthropic space that’s making the world a better place because in the end, both these cohorts have grown up through some very difficult times, and so they really want to see the world as a better place. And that’s not to say that our Gen Xers and our boomers didn’t grow up in very difficult times, and don’t want to see the world become a better place. It’s just at this point, our Gen Y and Gen Z folks are like, “We’ve been doing this for awhile and we want to take a different approach and see what the impact could be for the philanthropic space.”

So before we get into key strategies that I find lend itself well to these two particular cohorts, I also want to call out some key stats about each of these cohorts and the way that they give and their interests. So with millennials, you’re going to see that millennials tend to support organizations that are focused on issues of human international development, child development, and victims of crime and abuse. And so if you’re an organization that works outside of those realms, I’m not saying that you’re out of luck and you won’t get any dollars from a millennial, but if you are an organization within those issue areas, you’re definitely going to want to start to think about how you’re building in opportunities for millennials. And so the next couple of slides, they’re there for you, especially. They’re for all of you, but you should definitely pay attention if you are in these issue areas.

The other thing about millennials is that we want to be known for our philanthropic efforts and we want it to be a part of our legacy. And so oftentimes when you’re thinking about millennials, you’re like, “Oh, I have time to start talking to them,” or “I have time to do this with them. They have time to do that.” But you really should start talking to millennials early and you should really start talking to all your constituents early, but like particularly millennials, you need to start talking about where they’re seeing their legacy when it comes to their philanthropic efforts because they’re already thinking about it. I’m of the belief, there’s no time like the present to start putting a bug in somebody’s ear about a legacy gift. I’m someone where I already know where I want my legacy gift to go and I know lots of millennials do too.

And then the other key fact that I want to share about millennials is that 84% of millennial donors have a history of supporting nonprofit causes. And so with a lot of nonprofits, they’re like, “We don’t have millennial donors. They’re not there.” Well, they are there. You’re just not identifying them and you’re not continuing to engage them, so they’re not becoming habitual donors. And so you’re spending a lot of money acquiring new donors because you don’t think that you have them in there, but if you look at your data, they’re there. And so make sure you’re using the data to figure out where your millennials are so that you could start to engage them for a longer term. 

And now let’s talk about some key stats about generation Z and their giving. In terms of their giving, they’re really interested in environmental issues. So wildlife conservation, they’re also interested in arts and culture, humanities and [inaudible 00:27:21]

Steven: Hey, Dom, we still see you, but we lost your slides. I’m not sure why. Oh, no, we lost Dom. I’ll try to get her back, folks. Just hang tight. We’ll get her reconnected here. Just sit tight. Hey, Dom. Hey. Can you hear me?

Dominique: Sorry about that, folks. Hi. I don’t know if we’re good.

Steven: It’s okay. No problem. We’ll get you back.

Dominique: All right. I’m going to share my screen again. All right.

Steven: I think we heard up to the causes that the Gen Zs were interested in. So I don’t think we missed much, actually.

Dominique: Wonderful. Yeah. You didn’t miss much because I was like, “Oh, it stopped sharing the screen.” So we’re back. And now we’re talking back the second bullet here where according to Blackbaud’s Next Generation report, 30% of Gen Z, including children under 18 are already supporting charities. And so with that, if they’re already supporting charities, again, they are in your databases and they are ready to be engaged. And they’re not going to be your top dollar donors, obviously, but they’re definitely going to be in your database and you’re going to want to start talking to them because that’s a long-term engagement that can then build into a major gift in the future. And I know all the fundraisers are like, “Yeah. You got to play the long game.” And so like you’re playing an extra long game with generation Z.

And then finally, with generation Z, before making their gift, the most common thing that they will look for is some sort of impact report or annual report that really details how your organization has been using their dollars and really paying attention to the data there. Gen Z wants to see the proof in the pudding. They’re not going to invest their dollars in supporting your organization in the work to solve this mission that they care about when they can’t figure out how you’re making an impact and they don’t see the results. So they’re really going to look for an impact report or an annual report to get that sort of information from your organization.

And so as we transition into talking about engagement strategies, I really want to highlight this quote from the Millennial Impact report. And if you haven’t checked out the Millennial Impact report, I highly suggest it. It has lots of great information about specifically the millennial cohort, but with the millennial cohort and with the Gen Z cohort. You’re going to see some similarities in how they’re engaging with nonprofits. So it’s that’s as relevant, but with this Millennial Impact report, they interviewed some millennials, surprise, surprise, and the millennial said, “Giving my time and leadership to an organization is something I can do while I can’t give a lot financially at this point.” And that is key because as we move on in the presentation, we’re not going to the point we’re going to talk about some engagement strategies and how to work with millennials and really thinking about the fact that they’re not going to be able to support financially at this point in their life is crucial to the engagement strategies.

And so when thinking about these two cohorts, there are four strategies or concepts that really enhance engagement and allow for success with these two cohorts. And the first one being peer-to-peer fundraising. And with peer-to-peer fundraising, it really lends itself once in the nonprofit and to the millennial and Gen Z cohorts because it’s an opportunity for the nonprofit to amplify their mission and their work because they’re going to expand their reach. And for the millennial and the Gen Z constituents, it’s an opportunity for them to really tap into their network. So they’re going to be able to leverage the fact that they’ve been hyper-connected to all these people for so long and get them to look into this cause, look into an organization that they’re passionate about. And so that’s why you’ll see if you follow someone who’s of the Gen Z generation or the Gen Y generation on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, they’re always promoting some sort of walk, run, peer-to-peer effort that they’re doing because for them this is a tangible way that they are able to support a cause and see a greater impact from the work that they’re doing.

In addition to the fact that peer-to-peer lends itself to millennials and Gen Z, there is the fact that they’re interested in online presence. And while it’s not their main means of communicating, they’re looking into online presence because that is going to be the way that they’re able to really amplify and make sure that the there’s information out there about the impact that this work will do for an organization and the impact that it will then have on a larger group. And so I see I have a hand raised. I don’t know, Steve, do you want to chat in.

Steven: I think you’re okay, Dom. You’re okay.

Dominique: Wonderful. Cool. And so with making sure that you optimize your online presence, it allows an opportunity for these two cohorts to really amplify and feel like they’re doing something for the organization because they’re able to share and amplify the view of your organization in a demographic that tends to be forgotten about with nonprofits because they’re not top of mind at the moment. 

The next thing with the with these two cohorts side is important when engaging with them is the fact that you want to look for opportunities to help them grow. So opportunities that are mutually beneficial to Gen Y and Gen Z in your organization are really going to be great opportunities for engagement. So looking at your advisory boards or committees that they can sit on and have the opportunity to really learn or freshen up on a skill that they already have is always something that it’s going to be of interest to a millennial or a Gen Z. I mean, we saw the list of things that I’m involved in, and I’m a millennial. I spend a lot of my time thinking through what opportunities am I going to be able to do so that I can freshen up on a skill or learn something else. And when I’m doing this, it’s not only that I’m going to benefit from this. It’s an opportunity for me to learn, but it’s also an opportunity for this organization that I’m passionate about to gain something.

And then the other thing that organizations need to start to do when it comes to engaging with these two cohorts is you’re going to need to go to them. At this point, we spend a lot of time going to our boomers and our Gen Xers. We know where to find them, but we’re not spending the time that we’re dedicating to going out and engaging with our constituents. We’re not taking a portion of that time and dedicating it to engaging with this demographic that is up and coming and really trying to make a space for themselves in the philanthropic world. And so really thinking through where you’re going to find your millennials, so your young professional groups. Go to your alumni associations for the various colleges. Go to the alumni chapters, sororities, and fraternities and really start to think about how you can engage with those groups so that you can start to bring in more millennials and Gen Z folks to your organization. And so when you’re doing those things, these are some helpful tips that I think are important to make sure you’re doing as you’re engaging with these particular demographics.

So you want to remember that you don’t want to focus on the financial donation. It will come. Trust me it will come. But you want to focus on enlisting them to participate with your organization. You want to spend the time thinking through ways that you can actively bring them into the work. You also want to think about how to actively leverage their networks. And they’re social savvy. They spend a lot of time getting to know different people and going to networking events. How can you tap into that and use that for your organization? 

The other thing that you want to do is think about the volunteering opportunities that you have available for your organization and then making sure that they’re skill-based so that there’s a mutually beneficial opportunity for the volunteer who happens to be a millennial or Gen Z and even your boomers and your Gen Xers can benefit from a skill-based volunteer experience. 

The other thing is you want to make sure that you’re not focusing on just one particular thing. It’s good to have a diverse array of opinions and things that are going into these strategies because you don’t want to just use one thing and hope that it works. It’s like throwing something and hoping that it sticks. You got to try different things because not everyone is the same and you want to make sure that you have representation across the cohorts so you can build that ideal team for your nonprofit.

And then finally, and I can’t stress this enough as a millennial, please welcome their opinions. These are two cohorts that, again, don’t tend to see their opinions get validated because opinions are tired, validated by dollars, and they’re not giving big dollars yet, and so they’re not seeing their opinions being validated by organizations. And we have lots of them because we’ve gone through a lot of different things that are different from our counterparts that are boomers, and Xers, and whatnot. 

And so those are my helpful tips. And I’m going to share my contact information here while I open it up for questions and I’m also going to share in the chat link where you can sign up to get this tip sheet that goes really well with this presentation that has some tips when it comes to your strategies around boomer . . . not boomers. Well, boomers too, quite frankly, but specifically millennials and Gen Y.

Steven: Awesome. Dom, that was great. Dang. I learned a lot too, especially about that generation that is right behind me as an elder millennial. So thanks for doing this. I know you’re super busy and you’re, like you said, volunteering all over the place. So I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge with us.

Dominique: Like I said, this is one of my favorite topics. I think it’s super important. So I’m so glad that I was able to join you all today.

Steven: Well, let’s leave this slide up so people can connect with you as we do questions, but . . . oh, go ahead.

Dominique: Yeah. I can definitely put that back up. I’m also just going to throw that link in the chat for folks so that they can that get that tip sheet that I had mentioned.

Steven: Yeah. We got it. That looks great. And we’ll get that now. Cool. Well, we got a lot of questions here . . .

Dominique: And we’ll just slide through all these.

Steven: Oh, yeah. We’ll get a quick recap of everything. We probably got maybe 10 minutes for question, so chat them in if you haven’t asked. But, Dom, one that’s that stood out to me from a bunch of these questions is boards. And I’m wondering if you have any insights on what all of this means for, you know, people serving on boards. I would assume that what you said about the Gen Zs of, you know, being generous, but not necessarily through monetary donations would maybe bode well for board membership. What do you think?

Dominique: Yeah. I am a big proponent and adding members from the millennial cohort and from the Gen Z cohort to your boards, and this is why. It offers an intergenerational experience. And so you’re setting yourself up for a situation where you’re going to have a long-term sustainable board because you’re going to have people who have already had some experience with seasoned board members that are going to be engaging with not the nonprofit sector so that you’re able to have a more effective board because their experience, they had this time and they’ve learned from some of what I think . . . like I love my Gen X board members and I love my boomer board members. They have lots of insight and I’m constantly learning from them. And so being able to pass down that knowledge is only going to help your nonprofit in the long run.

Steven: I love it. Plus, they’re going to bring all those fresh perspectives, like you said. Very cool.

Dominique: Yeah. I mean, with bringing on a different cohort to your board, it’s also a form of diversity in that, again, it’s going to bring those fresh perspectives. I think oftentimes when people think of diversity, they focus on, you know, gender, race. And yes, those are very important. Like I wouldn’t even be a YW employee if I didn’t say race and gender were important, but there’s also other forms of diversity too when it comes to age diversity and ableism versus all the other types of diversity that are coming to the table.

Steven: I love it. Well, speaking of racism work, you said it, I mean, you work at the YW, you’re super engaged with a lot of anti-racism work. Correct me if I’m wrong, Dom, but it seems like these generations really care about DEI. And if your organization isn’t doing that work, you’re probably going to be less appealing to them, right? Am I wrong in my thinking on that?

Dominique: Yeah. These two cohorts are definitely very interested in DEI and they’re going to ask you questions about your organization’s stance on DEI and what you’re doing. And that’s because it’s very similar to the fact that the cohorts that went through the civil rights movement and having to see all those things happen, they were very interested in making sure that there was work done at the nonprofit level around civil rights. And so with these particular cohorts that we’ve seen the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Stop Police Brutality and all these different movements that are rising, and that’s just specific to race, there are movements that are arising around gender and there are so many different movements that are coming about and they want to see those movements reflected in the organizations that they’re supporting and engaging with.

Steven: I love it. I mean, it’s the right thing to do, but it seems like it would also be a revenue generator. I mean, foundations care about it, grantees, donors. There’s so many reasons to care about it aside from just this cohort of donors. I mean, what else there is to say?

Dominique: Yeah, I mean, you said. It it’s the right thing to do and then there is this added benefit that this cohort is interested in it. There’s a move to be more interested in it at the foundation level. So it’s like, why not paying attention to it?

Steven: Why not do it? All right. So, Dom, you got somebody’s juices flowing when you talked about skill-based volunteering. Can you kind of pull on that thread? Does that mean, hey, somebody is a good writer, maybe you would lean on them to help do some copywriting for organization or maybe they’re a great website developer or they can help out with your website? Is that kind of what you mean by the skill-based volunteering?

Dominique: Absolutely. And so really, like various committees, I’m going to use my organization as an example. Our various committees, our board, when we are engaging with them, they have the opportunity to write guest blog posts, they have the opportunity to sit on committees that help with building or a hiring process. They’re really involved in a variety of things. We have an advocacy committee and board members are able to sit on that and really help with our advocacy work. So there are lots of different ways that people can give their time. Some of our more popular blog posts are written by board members because it gives a perspective that your reader can relate to.

Steven: And it seems like there was just another question that came in from Andrea with COVID, those may be the best volunteer opportunities, right? Because they’re probably going to be able to come in and do a coat check at your event, or, you know, be inside painting, you know, your basketball gym or whatever. Like that seems like the ideal alternative. Is that kind of what you’ve seen since COVID hit last year?

Dominique: I mean, I’ve definitely seen a rise in a variety of opportunities outside of, you know, your traditional let’s go paint a basketball gym where it’s like, I’m sure those will come back once, you know, we’re on the other side of this. But I also think that because of COVID, we’ve noticed that the impact for both the actual contributor, so like when a board member or a committee member is asked to contribute on a blog post, they have this deep sense of like, “Oh, my God, I’m really a part of this organization because I’m able to contribute here.” And so it’s a touch point for that particular person, but then it’s also a great touch point for the person who’s going to see that in the end because they’re going to get really excited about somebody that may look like them or have an experienced like them getting to share their perspective on why they’re engaging or doing this work.

Steven: I love it.

Dominique: And that’s something that they can share more widely and say, “Well, this is why I do this work.” And there other people out there that are also doing it.

Steven: Great tip for volunteer engagement. That one is worth its weight of admission for sure. Going back to the board, Dom . . .

Dominique: If there’s anything anyone learns today, it’s make sure you get your volunteers doing something.

Steven: Yeah. There’s no reason for them to just be sitting at home doing nothing just because they can’t come in on site, right? I mean, that’s great. That’s powerful. Going back to the board, Dom, you know, as I was putting together your bio slide and we were kind of joking about all the boards you sit on, I noticed that none of those boards say junior boards. And we had a couple people asking about that concept. What’s your opinion? Is that a good thing to have like a kind of a adult board and then a junior board? And I’ve served on junior boards before and regular boards. And I don’t know, I won’t sway your opinion because I’m really interested in what you think. But should people consider that or should it just be your regular board and you have some younger folks on it that add to the diversity? What do you think?

Dominique: I think that it depends on how you’re implementing a junior board because with a junior board, there are some organizations that really have the junior board interacting with the governance board, is what they’ll call their more traditional board or their advisory board or whatever you want to call your more traditional board and there is really opportunity for collaboration and learning their birthdays. There are some that keep them completely separate, and then it feels very siloed and doesn’t feel like an opportunity where then my opinions are being heard and valued. And it’s honestly almost a hindrance on your organization because you’re doing this thing in hopes for an opportunity to really engage this particular group and they walk away from the experience feeling that they were kind of short sided and they were on the shorter end of the stick and no one really cared about them.

Steven: That makes sense. That makes a lot of sense. Very cool. Here’s a really good question from Jill that just came in. You know, we’ve been talking about giving these folks other ways to help out or contribute that aren’t donating, right? So they’re volunteering, maybe they’re campaigning for you, they’re calling their Congress person, they’re signing petitions, all this other stuff. If they’re doing that, and I get this question a lot, you know, in the context of Bloomerang, but should you never ask those people for money because they’re doing all these other things or is that maybe a pretty good signal that, hey, maybe they would, you know, be willing to donate 5 bucks, 20 bucks to a campaign every once in a while. What do you think?

Dominique: I would, one, say that you definitely should never not ask for money. I would be a terrible fundraiser if I told you, no, you shouldn’t ask for money. But also, if they’re doing all these things, that means that they’re committed to your organization and that’s an indicator that it’s time to really start to like talk to them about their commitment to your organization. And while they may not be able to give you $5,000 or whatever your organization deems a major gift, maybe you can get them in as a monthly donor and they are then feeling like they’re really committed to your organization, and that’s a start. So they’re going to give you $5 a month and then by the end of the year that $5 a month to $60. Cool. They gave 60 bucks. Maybe they’re . . .

Steven: Not bad.

Dominique: Yeah. That’s not bad. That’s $60 you didn’t have. So like starting to think about other opportunities that allow for people to give at a variety of levels. It doesn’t have to be that you’re asking for a major gift every time. Do I want to ask for a major gift? Absolutely. I wouldn’t be a fundraiser if I didn’t want to see a $5,000 gift every day. But I also know that there needs to be a blend of mid-level donors, high-level major donors, and your small donors, because that’s what’s going to make your organization sustainable.

Steven: I love that. I could not agree more. Not that it matters what I think, but I love it. That’s great, Dom. Here’s a question from Brooke that I think is probably the subject of an entire other webinar, if not like a full day class, but I’ll let you have the last word on it, Dom. You know, we’ve been talking a lot about young donors, but what about young fundraisers who are talking to potential donors, another generation? So, you know, Brooke, she’s saying she’s a millennial fundraiser, she wants to connect deeply with older donors, boomers. And, Dom, I got to imagine you’ve gone through this, plus, you know, you’re a woman, a young woman, a woman of color. I’m sure this has not been easy for you. Do you have any tips or lessons learned when it comes to maybe overcoming, you know, the stereotypes of being, you know, a younger person who’s trying to connect with that other generation that is, you know, has its ideas about us based on our outward kind of appearance and things like that. I know this is a huge question, but I’m curious of your thought.

Dominique: Yeah. And it’s a question that is also near and dear to my heart. [inaudible 00:54:08] Brooke. Yes. I hear you. I’m also a millennial fundraiser. I proudly state that I’m millennial fundraiser for this exact reason because it’s time that people stop focusing on the fact that, you know, I have this lived experience so I can’t engage with this particular person. We are such a diverse group of people, and so really focusing on, “Oh, this is their lived experience, so they can’t relate to the person,” isn’t the type of fundraising that we should be doing because that’s not going to make an impact. 

And so I always encourage my other fellow millennials [Inaudible 00:54:53] and other young fundraisers to remain authentic and be very honest with people with why you’re being authentic because of the importance of the impact and how that relates back to your organization’s mission and to your organization because at this point I think every organization has a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. So if they’re not letting you be your most true and authentic self and interact with your constituents in that most true and authentic way, then they are not committed to DEI and belonging the way that they say they are, and that in turn is not going to have a positive effect on your organization’s mission.

Steven: Man, I feel like we could talk about this stuff the rest of the day, but we’ve already taken out a lot of your time, Dom. And I know there’s a lot of questions we didn’t get to, but your contact info is on the screen. Is it cool if people reach out to you? Is that okay with you, Dom?

Dominique: Yeah. Definitely reach out. I am on all these platforms, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram. I’m talking all things, fundraising, nonprofit, and, you know, millennial. So, yeah, definitely reach out. And it was so great to be here with all of you guys. And, Steve, thanks for having me. It’s always good to get two Bostonians in the same room, or same Zoom at that.

Steven: If you want some Patriots and Red Sox tweets, definitely follow Dom and I. Maybe you don’t want to do that. Follow us for the fundraising stuff.

Dominique: I mean, they could a list for both because you’re going to get both regardless.

Steven: It’s good stuff. Well, the pleasure was all mine. This was such a treat. I knew this would be a fun one. And yeah, definitely connect with Dom if you want to keep going. I’m so sorry we didn’t get to all the questions. There’s some really good ones in here. And I wasn’t trying to play favorites, I swear. But we’re going to send out the recording and the slides here later today. So if you had to leave early, you’re not hearing me say this, so I don’t know why I’m mentioning it. But anyway, we’re going to send those things out. So if you want to send it to a friend or a colleague, you’ll be able to forward it along. And hopefully we’ll see you on another Bloomerang webinar. I’m just going to bring up a quick teaser here for next week’s session, monthly giving. If you care about monthly giving . . . hopefully you do because it’s awesome. Or if maybe you’re new to it and want to get a program going, we have the session for you. Our buddy, Erica, another New Englander. She’s out on Cape Cod. Dom, so this is going to be Massachusetts month. This is great.

Dominique: It’s Massachusetts all day.

Steven: Shout out to my fellow Massachusettseans, I think is the right word. I don’t know what it is. Hoosiers is Indiana. It’s easier to say. But anyway, monthly giving, next Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern with Erica. She’s the queen of monthly giving. I mean, she literally wrote the book on it. So be there. Totally free. We’re going to record it if you can’t make it. If you know you can’t make it but want it anyway, just register. It’s okay if you don’t attend live. You’ll still get the recording. So hopefully we’ll see you on that session. If not, we’ve got a lot of other webinars. We’re scheduled through the end of the year already. It’s just hard to believe. In fact, I scheduled a 2022 session already, which made me kind of sad inside, but it’ll be here before you know it. So hopefully we’ll see you again on another Bloomerang webinar. But we’ll call it a day there. Have a good rest of your Thursday. Have a good weekend. Stay safe, stay healthy. We need all of you out there, please. And hopefully we’ll 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.
Kristen Hay