If millennials (Gen-Y) are an enigma to you or to your organization let me encourage you that they are worth pursuing. It’s in your best interest to speak directly to this generation because they are powerful and driven when it comes to the causes and organizations which they choose to align themselves with. Millennials are raving fans of those organizations and brands they identify with. This means they will share who you are with their circle of influence and also evangelize your cause to reinforce your relevance.
Wait, I’m a Millennial…
Now, if you’re a millennial reading this you might be thinking, “Are we that misunderstood? We’re not that different.” #truestory Keep in mind this all comes from a place of good intention. There are organizations out there looking for the best way to connect with you. They want to know what is important to you so they can approach you in a way that honors your communication style.
If posting service opportunities via Instagram is better than posting to Facebook, they want to know. Would you prefer a text message rather than a voice mail? While there is not question of your capacity to receive communication any number of ways, there are ways that might work better for you. All the conversations around millennials are a way for those who may not have millennials in their day-to-day life gain a better understanding of what’s important to you. I think we can all agree (regardless of age) that the desire to be known, understood, and pursued is something anyone can appreciate in a relationship. This is the good stuff!
You’ve Got This
If you are concerned you don’t have what it takes to connect with millennials, let me stop you right there and say, “Yes, you do.” Be real. Be authentic. What do I mean by “authentic”? Lindsay Dudeck with the Aspen Group said it perfectly: “Authenticity is more about values and culture than it is about what a generation demands. Millennials may have shouted for authenticity louder than the rest, but all generations in your church are looking for it.”
Millennials want to engage with organizations that are real. Remember, millennials have grown up with Photoshop – they know the real thing when they see it. If you have an urgent campaign that needs visibility, be honest and make the need known. Let your followers know how they can help you – be specific – let them know why the needs is important and what their help will provide. When you are authentic you are approachable. Rather than a 501c3 entity you are now seen as individuals who have come together to work towards a greater good. The later is so much more appealing. Who you are – imperfections and all – is much more attractive than a polished image. It’s tempting and easy to do but it strips away your personality and works against you in your effort to connect and engage.
Next, go to where the millennials live: mobile devices and social media…
Text messaging trumps all with millennials. Sending on average 181 text messages a day Millennials are 40 times more likely to respond to a call to action via text than through an email. Millennials are the most connected generation; they have never known life without the internet. Their phone is an extension of themselves and is rarely out of their sight (this is true of many non-millennials as well). Millennials are immersed in messaging from traditional SMS text messaging to messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Voxer, SnapChat, and others.
Believe it or not 91% of millennials are on Facebook allotting 76% of the time spent on social media to this ubiquitous giant. While others maybe dedicated to a single social media platform, Millennials engage across several platforms: nearly half of millennials are on Instagram, followed next by Twitter. By working within the top social networks, creating a consistent presence will increase you engagement in huge ways.
If your organization does not yet have a Facebook presence follow these simple steps to get started today.
Millennials tend to prefer to share a picture than a status update which is why Instagram is a daily habit for this generation. Instagram is a way to show a moment from your day, but allows you to be creative with your photo with filters and any number of #hashtags to convey what you’re thinking/feeling in that moment. There is an authenticity to Instagram that is satisfying to millennials who spurn overly glossed images or brands that are trying too hard. It’s the authenticity that connects with them.
If you are scratching your head as to how you would use Instagram with your organization, check out this great article from The Creative Pastor.
Not yet on Instagram? Get started today!
When millennials check their phone, they check Twitter. Twitter brings fun and laughter to millennials and helps when boredom strikes. As you get more comfortable with the millennial demographic don’t be shy about sharing humorous content you know they will appreciate. Millennials use Twitter to share their lives and perspectives in real-time, talk about current events, like or share photos. If you are not using Twitter you might be surprised how much can be said in a 140 character tweet. (Follow CashLINQ here!)
Media Cause has a great article on 4 simple ways to boost your nonprofit’s Twitter strategy. It can also help those you who may not be using Twitter as of yet. Check it out and get started with Twitter today.