As the first generation to grow up with modern technology so easily at our fingertips, Millennials have reengineered the way information is delivered and consumed.
Every day, Millennials like me are turning to social media on their mobile devices, tablets, and desktops for information on the latest tools, news, resources, gadgets and opportunities to make our lives easier and better. For reasons such as this, we’re often coined “Gen Why?” and “Generation Me”—self-focused and often seeking instant gratification, even if it’s in an altruistic way.
The US Census Bureau reported there were 83.1 million Millennials in 2015.
That’s millions of us becoming more established in our careers with greater means to give generously to causes. “Millennial” is not just buzz word anymore. We’re the future of your volunteer and fundraising programs. And it’s so important for your nonprofit to be meeting us—your future monthly donors, volunteers, board members, and activists— in the spaces we’re primed to engage.
As an active volunteer and donor myself, discovering new nonprofits on social media often piques my interest to get involved and seeing my “go-tos” actively posting keeps me engaged with their mission. But if I take some time to dive deeper into the social media engagement of nonprofits, I notice that that it’s inconsistent—either nonprofits are going all in or they’re missing great opportunities to engage.
When looking for a platform with multi-level engagement, Facebook still has the advantage over other social platforms.
Here are some observations from one Gen Why-er on how to strengthen Millennial volunteer engagement and funding through Facebook:
- Have an active presence. I giggle when I think about how many times a day a business should post to social media because I envision a bunch of digital content strategists in a room turning it into the Great Debate. As a nonprofit that wants to be relevant in the community, I recommend at least one to two posts per day. With the amount of time people spend scrolling through their newsfeeds, it’s important that you’re creating content that is seen so that your cause stays top of mind. Having an active profile shows that you’re paying attention, ready to engage, and creating content that provides value to your audience.
- Extend your reach. One of your greatest assets for extending the reach of your posts is your supporter base. Formalize an influencer program that empowers and encourages you supporters to share your content with their networks—this works for boosting follower growth, raising awareness for an event, or educating more people on issues your organization is work to solve. Also, be sure to encourage your current followers to set their preferences to alert them when your organization posts something new! Another great way to gain followers and increase engagement is to boost your posts. While there is a cost associated with boosting posts, Facebook has made boosting scalable so that you can spend as little or as much as you need, depending on the success you’re seeing. Boosted posts are especially useful when promoting a gala, fundraising event, or campaign as it allows you the option to target specific audiences—friends of followers, specific geographical areas, or special interests— who may not otherwise be familiar with your mission.
- Share your story. You are doing amazing things! Leverage social media to make your good work known! Before social media and email marketing, nonprofits relied almost solely on direct mail to share about their work. Social media makes it easy to provide updates on your mission and creates opportunities for engagement around your cause—sharing, commenting, reactions, and influencer activation! Try sharing content like photos of your mission in action, stories from volunteer, updates on how funds are being used, or Facebook LIVE videos from an event. These types of posts will help to draw in new volunteers and new donors—when you put a face, a name, or a story to a mission statement, you humanize it. And that’s what people connect with.
- Ask for support. Facebook recently rolled out its “Donate” feature that allows users to donate directly through the platform, providing the ease of use and instant gratification that Millennials crave. So in addition to sharing content that drives users to your website, nonprofits can include direct donation calls to action in their ads and on their page! This doesn’t mean that you should rely solely on the platform for donations—at its core, it’s still a relationship building platform—but it does mean that you now have access to more user-friendly ways to cultivate meaningful relationships with your audience.
Still wondering whether Facebook is right for your nonprofit?
I’ll leave you with a story: I had never really given much thought to becoming more involved with the women’s ministry at my church. Then, an active member of the ministry invited me to be a part of a closed Facebook group. One day I noticed a post promoting a free three-week leadership course through the women’s ministry and thought “well, who wouldn’t want to take that?!” One quick click from that post turned into an awesome learning experience that has not only made me better at my day job but led me to become part of the church’s women’s leadership team. All it took was one invitation, one Facebook group, one post, and one click. That’s all it took for my church to cultivate me as active volunteer and for me to have the opportunity to strengthen my skills based volunteering.
I am just one millennial but there are millions more just like me, ready to engage and become more connected with the social good community. Seize the opportunity—you know where tofind us!