We at NonprofitCommunity have been fortunate to have Isabel Moore on board with us as our summer
. It was only fitting that she, being a Millennial herself, would write this excellent summary of this year’s Millennial Impact Report.
By Isabel Moore
The 2012 Millennial Impact Report offers insight into how nonprofit organizations can use technology and social to address young, intelligent and driven individuals in the most effective way possible. The report published by Achieve and Johnson, Grossnickle, and Associates compiles from 6,522 online surveys of Millennials (anyone ages 20-35), 89 online surveys of nonprofit professionals, and 27 Millennial focus groups in three American cities. The goal of the study was to better understand how Millennials engage with nonprofits so that these organizations can optimize conditions that will drive support for their cause from this generation.
The report debunks common assumptions that Millennials do not give money to nonprofits and do not form long-term relationships with important causes. Of the study’s participants, 3/4 gave agift to a nonprofit in 2011. Even if they could not financially, the of respondents sought to put leadership and fundraising skills to good use. 71% of Millennials surveyed have worked to raise funds from friends and family.
Millennials may be notorious for shortened attention spans, but this report rightly advises nonprofits not to mistake impatience for apathy. The study found that Millennials tend toto organizations “in the moment” (when they feel inspired), when the goals of an organization are clear, and when they understand the real-world impact of their support. If used appropriately, technology, social sites and mobile devices can be effective tools for reaching this fast-paced, multi-tasking population.
What resonated most with me was the report’s conclusion that a Millennial’s “biggest pet peeve is when [he/she] do[es]n’t know how [his/her] gift will make a difference.” The key to inspiring Millennials to act is presenting tangible examples that show the real-world effects of volunteer work or monetary contributions. Young people today are bombarded with requests to join, “Like,” and support a wide range of organizations, and the plethora of mission statements and promises of “making a difference” can feel abstract, repetitive and groundless. Millennials want to know exactly how they can be helpful, and they want this information presented clearly, succinctly, and in concrete language. The Millennial Impact Report offers informative case studies which nonprofit leaders can use for ideas on how to make supporters feel that their help is needed and worthwhile.
This timely report indicates that the overflow of information reaching young people today through smartphones, Facebook and Twitter must be organized in a very specific manner if it is to reach them in a meaningful way. The passion is there, but nonprofits must re- orient their outreach approach to accommodate the Millennial lifestyle.