How nonprofits can avoid missing out on millennials

A generation of approximately 90 million, millennials are the single largest demographic in the history of the U.S. In short, they are the future. Because the oldest of the generation is in their 30s and the youngest are around 12 years old, within a few short years millennials are fully expected to be the most powerful purchasers in the country. But despite the seemingly inevitable succession of Generation Y, many nonprofits continue holding onto out-of-touch marketing campaigns, preferring direct mail to mediums more popular with burgeoning spenders.

To address the growing stagnation of the nonprofit world, Ben Lamson, an expert in online fundraising campaigns, recently authored a list of encouragements and advice to help guide charitable foundations into the 21st century.

Be more tech-friendly
For more traditional contributors, direct mail may still be the way to go. But for many who are increasingly relying on digital communications for their correspondences, direct mail is becoming a thing of the past.

"I rarely see traditional advertising. Aside from bills and birthday cards, mail goes straight into the recycling 
bin," Tracy Lewis, senior consultant at PR 20/20, a marketing firm, told Hubspot.

The problem is direct mail no longer engages younger readers. When a prospective donor receives a tangible parcel, even if it is something he or she finds interesting, there's no easy way for the reader to immediately become involved or openly express their sentiment. According to the 2013 Millennial Impact Report, 75 percent of millennials enjoy sharing information they've seen through a social media platform, and 72 percent claim they would use such platforms to share information about a cause they support.

Nonprofits can use more modern means of communication to not only to connect with a younger audience, but also use that more tech-savvy generation to help further promulgate their cause. At some point the good will of young contributors will become less about simply advertising a particular nonprofit and more about raising money for charity.

Prepare for the future
As marketing trends continue to shy more and more away from traditional mediums, such as paper mail, nonprofits, unlike many other businesses, are failing to keep up, counting on direct mail to continue being effective. 

As the millennial generation continues to overtake the baby boomers as the most dominate demographic, businesses and nonprofits alike will be forced to either modify existing advertising campaigns to give them a more contemporary appeal or flounder as traditional means continue to lose market relevance.

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