“Millennials don’t want ads, they want stories,” says Michael Brenner, head strategist at NewsCred, an enterprise content marketing firm. Brenner highlights an issue so many nonprofits face – bad donor marketing. They use traditional fundraising strategies that simply don’t work anymore – especially for the millennial generation. Not only does this hurt their bottom line but it significantly narrows their donor pool in the years ahead.

Why you need emotion and storytelling in your marketing

If your group is struggling to gain momentum with young donors, it may be time to rethink your strategy. Brenner suggests re-engaging with your donors by adding emotion and storytelling to your campaigns. Not only will your audience resonate with that kind of content but they’re more likely to donate without you even asking.

How do you want them to feel?

Depending upon your mission, the type of content you produce can vary in emotions. Do you want to make them laugh? Or cry? Think about how your group uses donor dollars and what would appeal to them.

Maybe you’ll go the clever, funny route, like the Rainforest Alliance.

Or pull on heartstrings (and purse strings, hopefully) like The Girl Effect, an organization dedicated to helping empower young girls with education and work opportunities.

Why they never make the ask

What you’ll notice about each video example above is that they never actually ask for money outright. Their engaging visuals and powerful words help donors quickly understand the mission and provide enough to convince most people to get involved. Especially millennials.

Furthermore, as most millennials are active on social media, there’s a higher chance they’ll share your video or story to their friends and followers, helping your campaign reach a broader audience.

Make your donation page visible

Now that you’ve got their attention, direct them to your website or better yet, a landing page that allows them to donate online. Before linking a webpage to your donation video or content, be sure the donation button is extremely visible – otherwise, you’re risking a high bounce rate and failed campaign.

Millennial donor engagement doesn’t have to be challenging. Share stories that are genuine and resonate with your audience. Link to a dedicated landing page and see donations increase.


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