Millennials: An Unlikely Generation Redefining Generosity
Millennials are perhaps one of the most talked about generations, ever. Do a quick search for “millennials” on any given day, and hundreds of articles about their attitudes, opinions, likes, spending habits, or social media habits are waiting for you. As of 2015, millennials outnumber the famed baby boomer generation of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, with nearly 83 million people, nearly a quarter of the U.S. population. It’s no wonder that we are fascinated with what moves this generation will make next.
While it’s certain that one day millennials will inspire true social and worldly change (and arguably already have when it comes to digital technologies), it might be a bumpy road to get there in the public court of opinion. Face it, millennials have a bad rap. Lazy, narcissistic, self-centered, snapping, tweeting, posting, Uber-ing/Lyft-ing all across town, lack of work ethic and unreliable … just a few of the many attributes Millennials have taken on through the years. Not to mention, the butt of many jokes about their lifestyle choices.
But is what everyone says about Millennials really true? Are Millennials really the most selfish generation of all time? Actually, they aren’t.
According to an article from Business Connect that cites research from the Millennial Impact Report 2015, statistics show that 84% of Millennials made a charitable contribution in 2015. New research from the same organization during phase 1 of 2017 indicates that “Volunteering and giving is increasing, as thoughtful and meaningful engagement strategies are being created to support important causes.” Even though headlines don’t indicate this side of the Millennial generation, they are actually giving, just in new ways.
This is great news for your church. A generation that may seem out of reach, is actually willing to help and give back generously. Millennials want to see the cause and they want results. Keep this in mind when designing all your marketing materials and the digital path to give, whether it be online, via a kiosk at your location, or by text message.
Since Millennials are digital natives, that’s how they give. According Blackbaud’s 2016 Charitable Giving Report, online giving grew 7.9% in 2016 compared to 2015. Specifically, faith based organizations grew 8.8% last year alone in online giving. Adapting to the changing digital landscape is something that Millennials are good at, and if you want to keep up, your church also needs to be on the edge of these technologies, too.
If you want to join the movement of Millennials redefining generosity, you need to understand what motivates them, how they give, and what types of causes they prefer.
Digital Connection 24/7
With the ease of connection to the internet via smart phones, tablets, and laptops, it’s safe to say that Millennials live in the digital world, and in some cases, they live there even more than the physical world.
Direct mailings and paper envelopes are not going to do it for this generation. Ask a Millennial the last time the wrote a check.
This means that your church needs to move their fundraising efforts into the digital world. If your organization isn’t utilizing your website, social media, app, or text to give, we can help you with that. Creating custom church apps that keep your audience engaged digitally, and that lead to be better communication and connection is what we do best.
You have to keep things moving quickly to keep up with Millennials. If they can’t donate via text message or a website, don’t expect them to donate at all.
Lead With Stories
Millennials deeply resonate with stories. Transparency and authenticity matter deeply to them when it comes to charitable giving. They want to know the stories of those they’re helping. They want a personal connection with the cause. They want to be able to relate their own story to the cause they’re supporting.
Create a campaign in your app and tap into the power of social media to get the highest level of interaction and action. Create a clear call to action in the story so there is a direct place to give.
Are millennials the perfect generation? No. They may be obsessed with likes, new fads, and retweets, but they have big hearts. If we can connect with them digitally and give them easy ways to give, they are more than willing to help our churches change the world.