Targeting Donors by Age: Millennials

Targeting Donors by Age: Millennials

If you’re using a blanket approach to fundraising, it’s time to innovate your methods. Effective fundraising tactics for boomers aren’t necessarily effective for new-fashioned millennials.

We’re targeting donors by age. In Part 3 of our series, we offer tips on how to get the most out of millennial donors. 


By the Numbers

Millennials make up a slightly higher percentage of the US population than boomers or Gen Xers. 21.6% of the population consists of millennials, and it’s a group that’s generally quite philanthropic! 84% of millennials say they give to charity regularly. And here’s an interesting fact that you can use to your advantage: Millennials are most likely to give in the summer and winter months. Weird, right? For whatever reason, non-traditional fundraising season reports to be the optimal time to plan your campaigns targeting millennials. Here are the most effective ways to do so. 


Millennials are digital natives. They’re the first generation that grew up surrounded by screens. Many have essentially never lived in a world without the internet or social media. This is how they learn about you and the great work you’re doing. Millennials always have their phones with them, and most use them to not only find nonprofits, but also to complete their donations. Make sure your website is up to date and can accommodate millennials’ digital wallets – Apple pay, Google Wallet, CashApp, Venmo, Zelle, and so on and so forth. Don’t alienate this generous generation by failing to make it super easy for them to donate via their digital method of choice! Be wise and try to offset processing costs associated with digital gifts, if you can afford to – or pass the fees along to the donor.  

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) fundraising campaigns are extraordinarily popular with millennials. 46% mark special occasions with a fundraising campaign: Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, other major life milestones. 79% say they’re open to raising money through P2P. On the other hand, poor social media presence is unacceptable to millennials! Like Gen X, only more so, they’re absolutely 100% turned off by outdated websites. Also like Gen X, they consider philanthropy part of their identities. Their self-concept relies upon the people and causes they get behind. Social justice is incredibly important to millennials.

Social Justice

The United Nations defines social justice as the following: Everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. It’s a concept millennials hold dear. So in order to reach them, let them see what a difference they’re making. The best way to hit them in the feels and connect them to the causes that are important to them? Personal relationships and personal stories. 

Personal Relationships + Personal Stories

Millennial donors want to hear testimonials praising your org and stories about the folks who’ve benefited from your great work. They want to see this type of content not only before they give, but after they give, as well. Real stories about real people. Ideally, your website, social media channels and newsletters are already overflowing with heartstring-tugging tales. (If they’re not, reach out! Storytelling is one of our specialties.) 

If You Don’t Ask, You Won’t Get!

This may surprise you, because it sure did surprise us! Want to know what’s one of the top 3 reasons millennials stop giving to a charity? If nobody asks them for another donation! (The other top two reasons are them feeling like their gift doesn’t matter, or it becoming unaffordable for them to continue their financial support.) But! When asked why they stopped donating to a charity, a whopping 64% of millennials said it’s because they were never asked for another donation. Apparently, to fundraise effectively with millennials, you gotta keep at ‘em!

Remember: Thank them promptly! Set up an automated digital receipt that they’ll receive right after making their donation. But don’t stop there! Personal thank-yous are meaningful and important to this generous generation, as well. Just don’t call them on the phone. They won’t answer!

We’re having a ton of fun with this series targeting donors by age. We hope you’re enjoying it, too! Next up, tips on how to target your youngest supporters – Gen Z – also known as the Philanthroteens.

While you’re waiting, reach out with any questions, anytime! Let’s change the world – together.