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Websites, Email Newsletters Still Important to Smartphone-wielding Young People

(June 19, 2012) Technology is changing rapidly, but there is good news for nonprofits and fundraisers trying to keep up. For one, websites and email are by no means obsolete, a recent survey of young people indicates.

This according to a report by nonprofit consulting firm Achieve, which surveyed young people across the U.S. age 20-35. The findings are based on approximately 6,500 responses to an online survey, as well as focus groups.

With such a large number of people age 20-35 using smartphones (75 percent according to this survey), a website that is friendly to mobile browsers and communicates a few key elements clearly and easily is still where they want to interact with your organization. The same is likely true for other age groups.

Yes, they’re phones, but one might as well view smartphones as “mini computers” able to browse the web, check email and connect on social media. Calling and texting? Some even said that’s just an annoyance.

It turns out that one or two social media channels (used well) and an engaging email newsletter are great for reaching Millennials. Good news in the modern flurry of digital devices and tools.

Achieve’s 2012 Millennial Impact Report coincides with their July 19 virtual conference MCON12. As an association partner of the event, AFP is offering its members a 15 percent discount off of event registration. See below for more details.

How They Connect

According to the report, when Millennials want information about nonprofits, 65 percent turn to the organizations’ web pages, 55 percent rely on social media, and 47 percent want updates via e-newsletters. Only 18 percent said they wanted print communications.

Of the more than 75 percent of surveyed Millennials who own smartphones, 80 percent have used those phones to connect with a nonprofit, usually by reading emails or e-newsletters (67 percent) or getting organization updates (51 percent). In focus groups some said they view texting and phone calls as personal forms of communication, and therefore do not want texts or calls from nonprofits.

When going to a nonprofit’s website, 89 percent said go first to the “About Us” page that describes the mission of the organization. When researching organizations, 44 percent of survey respondents want to know how donations are used, 41 percent want to learn about volunteer opportunities, and 41 percent look for event calendars.

As social media, email marketing, and mobile continues to grow, these platforms all should be providing concise, targeted messages driving readers to the website to dig deeper into the topics that interest them, Achieve says in its report.

Also, by a margin of more than two-to-one, Millennials who volunteer for nonprofits are more likely to make donations, the study finds. And survey responses and focus group comments suggest that volunteering correlates to larger gifts.

While they are interested in being on the front lines, young people age 20-35 also want to lend their skills and experience and knowledge to help lead nonprofit. 77 percent of Millennials said they are interested in becoming involved in volunteer leadership with a nonprofit, but only 20 percent are currently on a board or committee.

For more insights into the communication, volunteering and giving preferences and habits of young people, the Millennial Impact report is available at AFP members can register for the MCON12 virtual conference at a 15 percent discount using code MCONAFP.

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