How to Engage Millennials

As former President of Young Professionals of Knoxville and being connected to our local nonprofit industry, I am constantly asked how nonprofits can best engage with Millennials, the generation of people born between 1980 and the early 2000s. I agree that engaging Millennials is very different than engaging Baby Boomers, and Generation X’ers. As Millennials, we want our engagements to be very personal, social and easy. Whether considering a Millennial volunteer activity promotion, young givers fundraising campaign, or awareness and advocacy aimed at engaging those aged 20-35, consider the following things:

  • Start with small asks. Understand the financial limits and time constraints that differ between millennials and other age demographics.
  • Give them opportunities to share. Using relationship social media platforms, encourage your new millennial friends to share their impact and invite others to join them in your cause. Set up social media pages, hashtags and discussion portals to make engagement easy. 84% of millennials in the United States use social media. #MillennialsGive
  • Streamline. Evaluate and modify paperwork and processes to allow millennials to give or volunteer with ease. If your volunteer recruitment process is six weeks long and filled with paperwork, interviews and too much training, millennials may move onto a new cause. Anything that can be digitized, like a pledge form, should be converted and easily accessible from mobile devices.
  • Build relationships. Ask the young professionals why they want to get involved. Tell them the stories of your organization and give them ways in which they can make a real impact.

Millennials are the cause generation. We choose our purchases based on how the corporations treat their employees or what charities they support. We are less focused with our compensation packages and more focused on how we can make a difference in the lives of others. By 2020, Millennials will represent nearly half of the workforce. Start your Millennial initiative today.

385 Elle Benson is the Director of Capacity Building for ABN. She is originally from Denver, Colorado and came to Tennessee via UT Knoxville where she graduated from the College of Business. She recently completed her MBA in Leadership at Tiffin University. Before joining ABN, Benson served as Marketing Supervisor for LBMC, PC and was the Director of Operations for the YWCA Knoxville. She is the past President of Young Professionals of Knoxville (YPK) and served as the Curriculum Chair for the Inaugural YPK Leadership Certificate program. Benson serves on the board for the Friends of Literacy, Knoxville Marketing Association and the United Way Young Leaders Society.