While the millennial generation (roughly those aged 20-32) are often described as cynical, lazy and entitled, a new report tells an entirely different story while adding insights into how businesses and organizations can engage this generation's spending, promotional and advocacy power.
The Millennial Impact Project, a partnership between Achieve and the Case Foundation, just released their 2014 Millennial Impact Report, which provides "research, examples, and takeaways for companies looking to inspire and connect with the next generation workforce."
The project, now in it's fifth year, has been able to identify the following four trends:
- Millennials engage with causes to help other people, not institutions.
- Millennials treat their time, money, and assets as having equal value.
- Millennials are influenced by the decisions and behaviors of their peers.
- Millennials need to experience the cause's work without having to be on site.
So how can organizations use social media more effectively to make the most out of these insights?
Tips for Nonprofits
In 2013, 85% of millennials donated to a nonprofit. This metric may surprise some, since millennials are often characterized has having less expendable income due to student loan debt and worsening job prospects.
If your nonprofit isn't targeting this generation for donations, it's time to start. When using social media, keep in mind that millennials are influenced by the decisions and behaviors of their peers, and engage with causes, not institutions.
Not only are millennials influenced by their peers, but they also love to put their giving and volunteerism on display. If you aren't already doing so, consider the following social media tactics. It will appeal to the sensibitlies of millennials and, perhaps more importantly, generate even more sharing on their part:
- publicly thank donors and volunteers (tag them!)
- highlight those you serve
- highlight your organizational successes
- organize giving challenges
- ask your young staff members to be online advocates for your organization
It's easy for nonprofits to fall into the trap of only asking for money or talking about themselves on social media. When you make to experiencing the cause's work the center of your social media content, millennial support will follow.
Tips for For-Profits
For companies interested in recruiting millennials, social media is a great way to off your cause-related work, dedication to the community and your other philanthropic efforts. Your content doesn't have to only consist of promotional materials and thought-leadership (and in the cases of some networks, it should seldom be).
- upload photos/videos of volunteer trips and giving drives
- use page banners and cover photos to highlight your people, not your product/services
- participate in giving challenges from your company account (happens quite frequenly on Twitter)
- devote entire social networks or secondary blogs (Tumblr) to higlighting your community outreach
What ways do you use social media to attract millennials? Let me know in the comments below!
For more information on millennial engagement, be sure to download the 2014 Millennial Impact Report.