Monday, July 30, 2012

3 Ways to Get Young Donors to Open Up Their Wallets

Gone are the days when marketing and fundraising managers of nonprofit organizations could rely on big corporate funders. In this type of economic climate, nonprofits need to get creative and innovative. This means looking at other funding sources and learning how to make the most effective "ask" method in such a way that this new source of funding would be as eager to open their wallets as you are to fulfill your nonprofit's mission. As an Integrated Marketing Communications graduate with a passion in philanthropy, my research shows a rapidly changing world of nonprofit fundraising brought about by the economic recession, technological advances, and social media.

A report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that the decline in large charitable gifts between 2007-10 mirrors a similarly precipitous drop seen during the Great Depression. But there’s hope: some nonprofits have succeeded in raising much-needed funds by engaging young donors. This is amazing because this target group gets exposed to as many as 5,000 brand messages a day. How can nonprofits get them to pay attention and open up their hearts (and wallets) for their cause?

There are three things to understand about this group and three ways to get what you want:

#1 Out of sight, out of mind - People nowadays have very short attention span. Whether you're launching a campaign online or offline, if your message or image doesn’t get their attention within the first 3 seconds, game over. A survey conducted by The Millennial Impact found that 65% of young donors learn about nonprofits through their websites. With 70% of young donors giving online last year, it pays (literally) to create a website that gives potential donors/volunteers a great information-gathering experience.
Solution: Make sure your websites are easy to read on mobile devices and not overly cluttered. Avoid being wordy and use powerful images like this nonprofit campaign launched by Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali, an Italian animal welfare organization against animal testing for cosmetics.

#2 The Bystander Effect - This human trait allows us to assume that someone else will do what needs to be done. Researchers in one experiment found that 70% of participants who are alone and heard sounds of distress from another person in an adjoining room responded and helped. When two participants were together, the response rate to the sounds of distress fell significantly, in one case to a mere 7%.
Solution: Use compelling stories to show the interconnection between ourselves and people thousands of miles away, and how we are all similar.

#3 Not used to giving - Plain and simple as that. Nonprofits need to help donors understand that their gift is not just a "drop in the bucket." Each person’s contribution, whether in the form of time or money, makes a difference. 
Solution: Cultivate the culture of giving by engaging school children and showing them the virtue of charitable giving early in life. As adults, they will more likely donate their time and money than those who never volunteered or donated as a child.

Inggrid Yonata is an assertive yet bubbly and people-oriented individual whose passion lies in the application of Integrated Marketing Communications strategies in nonprofit fundraising. She believes that wealth is not a prerequisite to be a philanthropist--ingenuity, passion, and determination are. Find out what's on her mind via Twitter @iyonata, leave a comment on her blog, or you can connect with her through LinkedIn: She is always looking for opportunities to exchange ideas and make great things happen.

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