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In our three-part series on generational marketing, we’ve talked tactics to help nonprofits get better results from their donor appeals. Now, let’s wrap up our series by turning our attention to America’s second-largest generational cohort: the millennials.

Why use generational marketing strategies?

Generational marketing works because the different age cohorts have their own charitable giving habits and preferences. For example, research shows baby boomer donors are more likely to respond to appeals sent via direct mail. For gen X, the look and feel of a nonprofit’s website is especially important.

Applying generational marketing to your next donor campaign is a great way to maximize your chances for success. It’s also not very difficult!

Now, let’s conclude our series by talking about millennials.

The Millennial Generation

  • Born between 1981-1996 (aka, late 20s to early 40s today).
  • Second-largest living generation (67+ million strong).
  • Contributed 14% of all donations in 2018.
  • The world’s first “digital natives,” many can’t remember a time before the internet.

They’ve been stereotyped as glued to social media and accused of killing the diamond industry (and light yogurt?). But generalizations aside, millennials are passionate about making a difference in the world – which makes them an important audience for any support-seeking nonprofit.

Let’s look at a few things that will help you engage millennials in your fundraising.

Millennials and charitable giving.

A decade-long study of over 150,000 millennials by the Case Foundation found that 69% had donated to support a cause in 2017. This aligns with a report by the payment app Zelle, which found 3 out of 4 millennials had sent financial aid to a friend, family member or nonprofit during the pandemic – more than any other age group.

They care about making an impact.

As evidenced by movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, this generation is eager (and technologically equipped) to make waves. While willing to work with nonprofits, millennials strongly prefer to support causes over organizations and need to see tangible results from the institutions they support in order to keep giving.

They use technology to amplify causes and prefer to give digitally.

In 2017, the Case Foundation found that 69% of millennials had posted or shared social media content to support a nonprofit. They also strongly prefer to donate digitally, including through organizational websites, social media and text-to-donate campaigns.

Marketing Tips

Now that we’ve discussed millennial traits, check out these tips to get better results from your next fundraiser.

Storytell through social media.

To reach millennials, maintain a social media presence, and use it to amplify your mission. Talk about your “why” and the people you are trying to help – as well as the ways you’re moving the needle. Show how millennials can work through your organization to support a worthy cause.

Consider these other pointers:

  • Post regularly, but not necessarily every day. Remember, quality beats quantity. Shoot for at least once or twice a week (or more).
  • Videos and other non-static posts are powerful tools and are easier to create than you might think.
  • Ask and you shall receive: always include clear calls to action that promote desired outcomes (visit our website, join our mailing list, donate, share this post, etc.).
  • Use photos of real people (instead of stock photos) whenever possible. Shoot for clear, compelling copy. Not an expert writer? That’s ok – authentic is better than perfect.
  • To make your life easier and stay organized, consider creating content in batches, and schedule it for release in advance. Apps like Sprout or Hootsuite can be great tools.

Not a social media guru? Let one of our experts get you off to a good start.


Get started with social


Focus on your website.

Millennials are more likely than any other cohort to research your nonprofit before making a donation. And where will they seek you out? Your nonprofit website. Consider these tips to make a good impression.

  • Keep your site current, rather than full of outdated information that makes you seem inactive. If your newest blog post is dated three months ago, that could be a sign your digital presence needs more frequent TLC.
  • Make it easy to donate online: maintain a secure, dedicated donor page that can be linked from your social media accounts. Offer different dollar options and describe in detail how the amounts will go to support a goal or milestone.
  • Use your site like a storytelling platform: organize it so people can easily learn about your mission and find success stories. Consider a blog or news section that describes what you’re up to – but only if you can keep it updated! (Need help with copywriting and storytelling? Firespring has your back).
  • Have your page audited for SEO so you’ll show up early in Google search results (which exponentially increases your odds for a visit).
  • Use buttons as clear calls to action. Encourage people to sign up for your mailing list, visit your social pages, read your blog, etc.


My website needs #love



The millennial generation is passionate about social change and eager to work through and alongside nonprofits to benefit society. When it comes to engaging millennials through your donor marketing, your digital presence matters most. Social media and your agency website are powerful tools that can be harnessed to amplify your message and promote calls to action, such as donating or volunteering. To succeed, show how contributing to your organization is a direct path to achieving mutually desired outcomes and helping others.

We hope you’ve enjoyed (and learned from!) our Generational Marketing blog series. Ready for more tactics and strategies to elevate your brand and accomplish your mission? Connect with one of our experts for help with all of your marketing, web and print needs.