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Understanding How and Why Millennials Give

Resource Center - Foundation

Feldmann colorHow do we best engage with Millennials as they head into their prime spending years?  AFP had a chance recently to chat with Derrick Feldmann about Millennial engagement, the subject of his and Michelle Cline’s upcoming webinar, Understanding How and Why Millennials Give, on September 29. 

Q.  What are the common factors that affect generational giving?

A.  Lifecycle changes greatly affect a person’s ability to give. These lifecycle changes often include financial independence, dependents, and professional career changes. It’s important to look at the various lifecycle changes in the donor’s life to understand, no matter how old they are, whether they are able to give at higher capacities or not.

Q.  How do those factors apply to Millennials?

A.  With Millennials we do have certain financial conditions (debt, etc.) that may prohibit giving at levels they desire, but giving still occurs in every generation. The real question that organizations should be focused on is: how do we share a narrative that inspires an individual to rise up and show they care, move them along a continuum of education and action, leading to gifting and beyond? Millennials, like other generations, have a desire to help another, and making a gift is one way to do so. In terms of how much they give and their capacity, it is clear that a Millennial-only focused strategy would limit the organization’s fundraising potential. However, it is key to look at the Millennial’s interest and desire to use all of their assets to help a cause.

Q.  It seems Millennials are equally, if not more, interested in donating their time vs. money. As they head into their prime spending years, do you think this will change?

A.  Millennials treat all assets as equal—time, money, network, and skill. Asking for one over the other consistently is never a good idea. They want to know that anytime you give of something they value to help another, life will be better somehow for those that need the help. Giving will increase over time as the individual moves through and orients themselves appropriately to the various lifecycles mentioned earlier.

 Q.  Is it time to start courting Generation Z, the generation after Millennials?

A.  Fundraisers and marketers of causes should be focused on helping anyone of any age move through a pathway of interest, action, and deeper action for the social issue. Focus on developing, iterating, and refining this pathway for public adoption and support.  

Q.  Will you be doing the webinar from any vacation destinations this year?  (We appreciate you taking time out of your Paris trip last year to present.)

A.  No crazy destinations this year. But I will be in one of my favorite cities – Pittsburgh.

To find out more about engaging Millennials in your nonprofit’s mission, join us for Derrick and Michelle’s webinar on September 29, 2016 at 1:00 PM Eastern: Understanding How and Why Millennials Give.

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