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Cultivating a Younger Generation of Donors

Guest Author | AmFund—American Fundraising Foundation

Auction Frogs partnered with AmFund—American Fundraising Foundation—during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide many nonprofits who could not hold their events during 2020 much-needed funds through grants, auction item support, and virtual auction solutions. Our partnership with AmFund, and their knowledge and love for nonprofits, has been a treasure to Auction Frogs this past year. We look forward to our continued work together.

It’s great to live in the moment. That’s a philosophy that works well for many of us regarding our own individual lives. However, when it comes to the sustainability of nonprofit organizations, it’s essential to look to the future. To look ahead into the future means to focus now on the younger generation of donors.

This blog entry will help you stay focused on the younger generation of that will someday become your most significant segment of donors. Specifically, we are talking about Generation Z, the demographic cohort (mid-to-late 1990s to the early 2010s for birth dates) succeeding Millennials. We will discuss where to find them, how to communicate with them, why they are so crucial to your organization’s future, and strategies that will get them involved with your nonprofit today.

Look to Social Media

The last couple of years showed us how powerful social media is when marketing your virtual events and other happenings. No matter what generation of donors you want to communicate with, social media is a primary marketing tool that isn’t going anywhere. As for connecting with Generation Z, you will need to branch out from Facebook.

There are plenty of social media apps out there beyond Facebook that cater to the younger generations. Snapchat and TikTok are two of the biggest ones. Getting your brand out there on these platforms will help you break into this market segment. For those unfamiliar with social media, later in this article we will talk about starting a Youth Advisory Board to help provide you with insight.

It’s all about Adventures & Experiences

Young people don’t care much for physical items these days. That’s not to say they don’t value certain things in their lives. However, life is more about experiences. Specifically, traveling with friends or their significant other. Vacations and excursions to international destinations with adventure or relaxation in mind. For the younger generation of donors, these are the rewards they strive to obtain. It’s safe to say the older end of the Generation Z spectrum will likely be saving up for these types of trips.

For nonprofits, incentivizing this generation is a relatively simple approach. Give them what they want. Trips and experiences are incredibly enticing to this group if donors! Use these items when marketing your event, and you will see an influx of the younger crowd at your fundraisers and other events. Further, it is the most enticing way to convert them from a non-monetary supportive audience to a financially giving donor.

Let Donors show their Pride

When it comes to the younger crowd just coming out of college (or even still in high school), provide them with opportunities to be proud of what they did to help with your organization’s mission. It may be something they can add to their resumes, or it may be something they will post on social media because it makes them feel good. Regardless, today’s younger people want to do something that means something to them. Give them that opportunity and let them share it. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Create an Ambassadorship Program

Advertise for Brand Ambassadors for your nonprofit. Get the word out by sharing this idea with local colleges! Ambassadorship Programs are very sought after by this generation and doesn’t necessarily require them to have deep pockets to give financially. Instead, their “capital” can be in their ability to represent your nonprofit professionally and spread your messaging.

Create Showing & Mentorship Programs

Schedule times for young people to shadow different members of your team. Take time to share your experiences and insights about the nonprofit sector. Of course, don’t forget to learn from them as much as possible too!

Create a Youth Advisory Board

Get the next generation of leaders on a board to help provide your organization with fresh perspectives and ideas that will help shake up your nonprofit in ways that will keep you moving forward. Let the board provide you with some insights into today’s social media landscape. You might be surprised at just how much is out there!

Generation Z is shaping up to be the most philanthropic generation yet. Don’t underestimate this audience. Try out some of the strategies mentioned above to see where it leads you. If you need some more ideas on how to connect with this generation of donors, including other marketing tips to help your nonprofit with its fundraising events, contact us today at AmFund. As always, thanks for reading, and stay safe!

About the author

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AmFund assists nonprofits in three ways: Educational Programs and Fundraising Resources, Fundraising Programs, and Unrestricted Grant Program. Over the last 20 years, AmFund has contributed more than 38 million dollars to assist the work of nonprofits nationwide.

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