Through an arrangement with TechSoup, PND is pleased to offer a series of articles about the effective use of technology by nonprofits.

Three Ways to Attract Millennials to Your Nonprofit

Three Ways to Attract Millennials to Your Nonprofit

Are you spending more of your time thinking about how you can attract millennials to your cause? No?

Consider the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It was one of the most successful campaigns in history, raising a mind-boggling $115 million while creating a lasting public awareness around ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The driving force behind the Ice Bucket Challenge? Cause-driven millennials.

Let's take a look at three solid strategies to get millennial supporters interested in — and supportive of — your cause.

Prove You Are Trustworthy

Here's the thing: most millennials are tech-savvy and digitally connected. And instant access to all sorts of information has made them skeptical of both businesses and nonprofits.

As Pete Sosnowski, head of HR and co-founder of ResumeLab, puts it, "To attract Gen Y to your nonprofit, you need to prove your trustworthiness by showing how the work you do impacts the community."

Here are some tips on how to do that:

First, set up an About Us page and fill it with inspiring content — videos, personal stories, your mission statement — that illustrates the importance of your organization's work.

Need an example? Check out how the American Red CrossGreenpeace USA, and Feeding America do it.

Second, invest in a mobile-friendly, responsive, modern website that's loaded with compelling visuals. Believe it or not, 57 percent of Internet users say they won't recommend an organization with a website that's poorly designed for mobile.

Both of these should be top of mind as you start to develop a strategy aimed at attracting more millennials to your cause.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Millennials, as everyone knows, are very comfortable using social media.

In fact, according to the 2016 Nielsen Social Media Report, millennials spend a staggering twenty-six hours a week consuming media, six hours of which are spent on social media sites.

What's more, millennials have a great need to connect, and they are more active on social media than any other demographic.

So in order to attract millennials to your nonprofit or cause, you need to be savvy about social media.


First, create engaging content that tells a story about who you are and why you do what you do.

Here are some examples of things you should share:

  • Cleverly captioned photos of a recent event
  • Stats that demonstrate how your work translates into community benefit
  • Individual stories about the people or communities your nonprofit has helped
  • Regular organizational updates
  • News about upcoming events your organization will be hosting

Need more inspiration? Check out how the American Red Cross does it on Facebook.

Also be sure to provide direct links to your donation pages so that millennials (and others) who like what they see can do it with just a few clicks.

To get millennials' attention, you'll also want to use video to share stories about your work, your successes, and why you need additional support. The good news? You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on professional-quality video. Just use the video capabilities of your smartphone to give folks a feel for your organization. Done well, it won't be long before you're getting lots of shares and exposure beyond your organization's social media page.

Incentivize Giving

According to a 2015 CNBC report, millennials on average give more than $400 a year to charity. In other words, if you make it easy for them to donate smaller sums of money, it could dramatically increase the number of donations you receive.

But you have to let them know that their donations and engagement will make the world a better place.

So, give them a shoutout on social media and tell your followers what your volunteers are doing to help other people and the impact it had on their lives. Here's an example:

"Blood from generous donors helped Emma regain her strength after she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 12. Without the generosity of those donors, Emma wouldn't have been able to lead a normal teen life. Click here to learn how blood donations helped save Emma's life and how you can help save the lives of other people with cancer."

A message like that can go a long way toward getting millennials to support your cause or organization.

Stacking It All Up

It might feel as if motivating millennials to support your cause is the furthest thing from easy.

But if you leverage strategies and tactics aligned with millennial traits — thinking mobile, showing that your organization can be trusted, using social media to incentivize giving — you'll be connecting with younger supporters before you know it.

Max Woolf is a career expert at ResumeLab, where he helps people land their dream jobs.