Tapping into the Millennial Network

Last year I had the opportunity to present at an annual conference that provided workshops to fundraising professionals, volunteer coordinators and board members for an organization that provides affordable home ownership to low-income families . During my session “Millennials: Today’s Volunteer, Tomorrow’s Major Gift Donor,” we talked about engaging Millennials as volunteers and donors. Strategies included developing young professional networks, providing professional development and leadership opportunities, and, of course, actively using social media.

In addition, we talked about using your Millennial volunteers as Influencers for your organization. Influencers are those smart, vibrant, spunky people you love to be around. They know many people and have the ability and resources to pull people together and inspire them to take action. I suggested that they use the Influencers engaged in the organization’s work to go out and speak to their peers about the great work happening in the community. A hand immediately shot in the air. “How do I know what they will say? I’m worried that they might not be able to answer the questions about what it is our organization does.” Well, this posting is for you.

Before we get started, you’re probably wondering why this is necessary and why you should spend time and resources to seek your Influencers and provide these opportunities?

As we have talked about in the past, Millennials are social creatures. They crave opportunities to come together with friends and like-minded individuals to network, talk about their community, and to just have a good time. Using the Influencers in your network who are already engaged in your work has low cost to the organization, but the possibility of amazing outcomes. Plus, if you are one of those Boomers who believe that Millennials are narcissus, you can also see how this works. What Millennial wouldn’t love to get a room of their friends together to brag about the great work they are doing in the community? Also, as you see below, Millennials love volunteer opportunities that allow them to interact, plan events, or work with their friends/family.

Preferred volunteer opportunities

Source: 2011 Millennial Impact Report

In addition, one of the top ways Millennials respond that they prefer to learn about an organization is through a peer endorsement. Imagine the impact an appeal or volunteer recruitment effort has when your closest friends shares how they personally benefited from the organzation. A friend will also knows that Tuesday is your Netflix and pizza night, and will then be able to motivate you to change your Tuesday night routine to come on board as a volunteer.

Preferred way to learn about organization

Source: 2011 Millennial Impact Report

Finally, when asked how they prefer to make a pledge, nearly half responded that they prefer to give through a personal request. While giving online was the number one preference, the survey showed that the number one way Millennials actually made gifts was through a personal request. Just like the ‘olden days, the person-to-person appeal continues to be the most successful way to secure gifts.

Millennial Donation Preferences

While Influencers can be great at reaching new audiences for your organization, the end result ultimately lies with the organization. Be sure that you have unique volunteer and giving opportunities that match the needs and desires of the Millennials you want volunteering with your organization. Ask yourself if your website and social media tells the story about your organization in a way that Millennials will be compelled to advance your issues and mission.

Below are some final tips for your organization as you move forward in preparing to tap into the Millennial network:
1. Make sure your organization is prepared. Identify or develop a staff liaison, work space, volunteer description, budget, or any other requirements necessary for your organization to start the process of using your Influencers.

2. Ask your Influencers how their peer network can impact your organization? What ideas do they have about engaging their peers and community on your issues? What can you do to help them?

3. Provide training by giving your Influencers opportunities to present and practice with board members, staff, volunteers and donors who can provide valuable feedback. (Remember, Millennials want to network and meet the leaders of your organization.)Develop materials that will be used by the Influencers to talk about your organization.

4. Create a “Speakers Bureau” that provides a structured volunteer opportunity specifically for Millennials seeking short term assignments. Have them contact their sorority, church groups, friends and other local organizations to set up speaking engagements.

5. In partnership with staff, encourage your Influencers to create content that can be quickly shared on social media. You will surprised at the creative talent your Influencers might have in creating snap chat videos, memes, or gifs.

What are the concerns that you have about using this method? What are some ways that your organization has used Millennials to advance your work? Let me know your thoughts!

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New Year, New Millennials

Happy New Year! Thank you for continued support of Jerome’ Blogs, and be sure to look out for great things happening here throughout the year. Please send me any suggestions for topics you would like to see on the blog.

With every new year come the opportunity to become a “new you.” If you are like me, you have planned on joining the gym for the past five years. Perhaps you want to read more books, spend more time with your friends and family, or maybe you even want to recommend three friends to become Jerome’ Blog subscribers. Cheers to you!

Regardless of your personal goal, it’s also important to think about what your nonprofit organization plans to accomplish over the next year.

With so many social and civil rights issues emerging in 2014, there’s no doubt that Millennials will be leading the charge in 2015 to change our communities. If your organization hasn’t started to think about how it plans to interact and engage with this audience, don’t worry, I’m here to help you.

Below are 4 tips that will help you increase the number of Millennial volunteers/donors that you have in your pipeline. If you want to take it a step higher, set a goal that will allow you to measure your activity over the next year. For example, “Increase Millennial volunteers by 10%.” Be sure to set a realistic goal that meets the needs and challenges of your organization.

1. Talk with Millennials where they are.

– Engage with Millennials on social media

– Participate in volunteer recruitment fairs at your local university

– Create a partnership with your local university or specific academic program(s)

– Partner with young professional networks or organizations in your community

2. Empower Millennial staff to champion the organization

– Provide them with the training and resources to talk passionately about your organization

– Provide them with leadership opportunities within the organization

– Match them with a senior mentor who has institutional knowledge, and a willingness to coach younger staff members

3. Implement programs and events that capture the energy and passion that Millennials have

– Millennials love to do things with their friends. Plan social events that will allow Millennials to engage and interact with each other.

– Create memorable moments. Never lose an opportunity to talk about your organization and its impact. It’s even better when you can do this through testimonials, videos, or stories.

– Develop a giving circle that recognizes Millennials who give at certain levels

4.Evaluate your systems

– Do you have volunteer opportunities available that fit the schedule and skills possessed by Millennials?

– Do you have a database in place to capture your activity and interaction with all of your volunteers and donors?

– Do you have a website that can easily be read via a mobile device?

– Is your “Donate Now” button easy to find on your home page?

What does your organization hope to accomplish this year? Does your organization already have a plan for increasing activity with Millennials?? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Don’t forget to share this blog with those three friends!

Nonprofit Spotlight: Hosea Feed the Hungry

HOSEA%20FEED%20THE%20HUNGRY

Nonprofit Spotlight: Hosea Feed the Hungry

Location: Atlanta, GA

Website:http://4hosea.org/

Facebook:www.facebook.com/HoseaFeedtheHungry

Chief Executive Officer: Elisabeth Omilami

Mission:To examine and then raise public awareness about the many problems facing families and individuals that are living in poverty or are at-risk of slipping into poverty, and then to mobilize products, volunteers and financial resources to solve those problems, or to ease the burden that those problems cause.

Why is Hosea Feed the Hungry being profiled?

I first learned of Hosea Feed the Hungry through my mother. She loves the organization and annually volunteers at their Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, two of their largest outreach efforts to serve those individuals living in poverty.

On these two holidays, including the addition of Easter and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the organization and over 1,500 volunteers provide a seven course meal, hot showers, barbers and beauticians, children activities and services, clothing distribution, medical services, legal aid counseling, free cell phones and much more. With so many opportunities and services, there are multiple opportunities for volunteers to assist in making these events a success. While these are important, Hosea Feed the Hungry provides services on a daily.

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Since 2012, Hosea Feed the Hungry has served:

  • · Grocery Distribution: 3,274
  • · Financial Assistance: 152
  • · Homeless Outreach: 7,200
  • · Disaster Relief: 46
  • · Furniture Distribution: 206
  • · Book Bags: 1,800
  • · Volunteer Hours: 10,000

Programs and areas of service:

  • · Homeless Prevention
  • · The Day Center
  • · Families Care and Crisis Center
  • · Seniors
  • · Back to School
  • · International Outreach
  • · Children’s Christmas Party
  • · The Labor of Love

Hosea Feed the Hungry makes a great match for Millennials looking to volunteer or donate to a local nonprofit.

Millennials can volunteer at one of the many annual events hosted by the organization, utilizing their professional skills or providing general assistance. Looking to do something with your friends instead? Hosea will provide you with the information necessary to host your clothing or food drive.

Hosea also makes it easy for the Millennial to be a donor. With monthly giving, a Millennial wishing to make a large gift can do so gradually over the course of a period of time. Looking to donate $100 but can’t do it all at the same time? No problem! With small monthly donations of $10, those monthly donations could add up to $120 over the course of a year. Through this method, the Millennial can make a small donation each month without putting a dent in the weekend fund and even increase the amount they had planned to donate.

The organization also accepts in-kind donations, making it easy for the Millennial who may not be able to give a monetary gift, but has some gently used clothing items that may be of use to someone else.

Still not able to give right now? No worry. Hosea Feed the Hungry is currently competing for funding from the 2013 Aetna Voices of Health funding – an initiative celebrating the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. First place wins $30,000 and second place wins $20,000. Hosea is in third place. Voting ends October 20, so vote now!

http://aetnavoicesofhealth.com/

Be sure to check Hosea Feed the Hungry and let me know what you think. Have you volunteered with them before and want to share your experience? Do you know of another outstanding nonprofit in your community that should be profiled on Jerome’ Blogs? If so, please share your experience or comments below.

*Hosea Feed the Hungry logo and picture are not my own. Source, Yahoo Image.