Although millennials currently make up nearly a quarter of the population in the United States, they are still a largely untapped market for various things, which include charity work and donations.
This is a huge mistake that non-profit organizations and businesses organizing fundraising events need to rectify immediately.
A leading provider of auction management solutions says that millennials are everyday change-makers and activists that care deeply about social issues. Because of these traits, putting a lot of effort into getting their interest and involvement in your fundraising event will be a smart move.
But how can you tap into this market and encourage millennials to participate actively in your charity auctions and other fundraising events? Here are seven helpful tips:
Amp Up Your Digital Platforms
Millennials spend a lot of time online on their phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop. As such, the first step to getting their interest and boosting their engagement is to improve your website and app, if you have one.
Start by tweaking and adding a few features to your website that can capture and keep the interest of millennials. These include making it more user-friendly, installing badges for social sharing, keeping it updated, and publishing posts that include storytelling.
Since millennials and many people from other generations use smartphones and tablets more than desktops and laptops, you have to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. All pages should load quickly and be easy to navigate.
Additionally, your website has to be optimized for a mobile experience with a swipe- and tap-friendly content.
If you host charity auctions and other fundraising events regularly, consider getting an app designed solely for such endeavors. Millennials are big fans of these mobile tools since they are easier to access and use.
With this app installed on their phone, you will make it easy for them to bid or donate an amount wherever they are.
Be Active Online
Aside from beefing up your website and app, to reach out to millennials and get them to participate in your charitable events, you need to be active on different social media and digital channels.
Post regularly on platforms that are popular among the younger people. These include Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Additionally, interact with them. Respond to their questions, acknowledge their feedback or suggestions, encourage them to share stories, and thank them for their participation and donations.
Make sure you keep your accounts up-to-date as well. Share posts about all upcoming events. Keep your followers posted regarding the total amount of funds you raise from your projects.
Lastly, use other digital promotional tools and platforms, too. These include email marketing and online ads.
Highlight Your Cause
Unlike other generations of donors, most millennials support causes they are passionate about, and not the institutions or organizers. Because of this, you need to focus on promoting the reason behind your fundraising event and the recipient of the money.
To connect with the younger generation, use stories, images, and videos to make emotional appeals. Explain how their donations can feed impoverished children for a week or provide shelter, food, and medicine to abandoned pets.
Make sure you use a combination of text, images, and videos to convey your message and make it hard for the recipient or viewer to ignore it.
Additionally, show your audience how your organization works. Share photos or videos of project results so that viewers can clearly see them, which can inspire them to engage and help more.
Make Donating And Joining Charity Auctions Easy Online
With a good website or app, you will make it easy for millennials to donate or support your cause, especially when you hold a silent auction, which is popular in this generation.
If you are hosting a silent auction online as part of a bigger event, ensure your website and app have digital bidding features that are easy to use.
Additionally, to get more young participants and supporters, start the auction or online bids days prior to the event itself. Ensure you promote this sufficiently beforehand on all your platforms.
Choose The Right Auction Items
Carefully selecting the items to put up for auction that appeal to all ages is a great way to get more bidders.
If you want to get the millennials excited and encourage them to bid, add items that they find appealing. These include travel packages that include some adventure or eco-tourism activities.
Search for items that are currently popular among the younger crowd. These can include tickets to concerts or sporting events. You won’t go wrong with fashion pieces that are trending among millennials, as well.
It’s important to note that Millennials may not be as willing to spend as much as people in older generations, so keep auction items on the lower end of the price range.
Show Your Appreciation
All donors and supporters like receiving a thank you note after attending a charitable event. But if you want the millennials and everyone that participated to continue supporting you, you have to go beyond sending them the usual canned emails or messages.
Try to compose a more personal genuine thank-you message. If you have an automatic thank you or confirmation email, at the very least, add the person’s name and state the specific amount he or she donated.
Add an emotional story about how their donation will impact a person’s life, as well.
Moreover, don’t forget to acknowledge their support online. In your email, ask them if it is alright to give them a shout-out or mention their name on social media when you thank them for their donation and participation.
Continue Engaging With Your Donors And Supporters Between Events
Lastly, no supporter, regardless of his or her age, wants to feel that groups only get in touch with them when they need funds or have an upcoming event. If you want to engage with the millennials to interact with you and contribute to your cause, you also have to continuously.
Aside from sending them thank-you notes after your fundraising events, keep them posted about important things happening regarding your cause and things your organization is doing.
Write articles about your recent missions. When you send these by emails, make sure you add photos or videos.
You can also send your supporters links to your blog posts or news regarding your cause or project.
When you make your donors and supporters feel that they are part of your community, you maintain and boost their interest in your cause. You will then have no difficulties increasing your millennial patron retention.
By following these tips, you will avoid alienating the millennials and encourage them to be constant supporters of your cause. You will then have a group that you can count on to share your mission of helping others.
Darran Brown is the CEO and Founder of Go Charity. A graduate of UMASS Amherst, Darran has spent the last 20 years managing auctions across the United States.
Having run some of the most successful live and silent auctions in the US, Darran has the insider know-how to every aspect of the industry. From memorabilia to trips and experience hospitality to fundraising 101, Darran is the leading expert on auction management and fundraising success.
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