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How to engage younger donors in your fundraising campaigns

How to engage younger donors in your fundraising campaigns

As a not-for-profit organisation, you're certainly looking to engage a younger donor base for your cause. Young people are energetic and dedicated, but they have specific expectations from the organizations they support. Above all, this younger generation is looking for transparency, genuineness and concrete ways of having a positive impact on the world around them.

To engage young people in your fundraising efforts, an innovative and creative approach is key! Social media posts, online videos and viral campaigns are powerful tools to reach them. But it's crucial to adopt a communication strategy tailored to this specific audience.

In this article, we explore 4 strategies you can use to mobilise young people online. Danielle Assis, Communications Coordinator for Amazônia de Pé, shared her tips at FRO2024 by The Resource Alliance in April.

Online fundraising: the social commitment of new generations

1. Target your audience with your fundraising campaigns

2. Work in partnership with younger donors for your fundraising initiatives

3. Get young people involved in your charitable cause for the long term

4. Encourage them to take action!

Learn how you to adapt your fundraising strategy to move this new generation to support your nonprofit organization!

Online fundraising: the social commitment of new generations

Sometimes referred to as 'Philanthrokids', Generation Z seems to be more motivated to make a social impact than previous generations. The majority of this generation is aware of what's going on in the world and within their own communities. 

As digital natives, they have grown up with technology and have the skills to excel at peer-to-peer fundraising in particular. People can convince their friends and family to support charity events. They also use social media to raise donations for causes they value. Members of Generation Z are invaluable assets for non-profit organisations! 

Young people today advocate for issues like climate change and social justice that impact their lives directly. 

Generation Z therefore has a strong propensity to get involved in causes that are close to their hearts. The question is, how can we mobilise them and build their loyalty effectively?

Here are four key techniques for achieving these objectives.

1. Target your audience with your fundraising campaigns

First tip, target your audience. For real impact, focus your efforts on your target audience. Charities can use the data available to them to identify the demographic groups most likely to support them!

For example, you can analyse the demographics of your current audience: age, gender, location, communication preferences, etc. Then study young people's online behaviour, their interactions on social media and their responses to your campaigns.

Once you have collected this data, segment this young donor base using your CRM tool. Create several segments, based on different criteria such as :

  • Recency: to identify new young donors or vulnerable donors (who haven't given in a while).
  • Frequency of donations: to identify young donors who regularly support your cause.
  • The amount donated: to distinguish between major donors and those who contribute less.
  • Channel: to understand how your young donors prefer to be contacted. Via email, social media platforms, streaming platforms, etc.).

You wouldn't want to send the same message to all these different profiles of young people! By segmenting your audience using a CRM solution for charities, you can build a tailored appeal plan. You can then personalise your messages for each segment, in just a few clicks.

By identifying young people's preferred communication channels beforehand, you have a considerable advantage! You can use their preferred channels for your communications and your appeals for donations. Whether it's through challenges on social media, live gaming or whatever they prefer. A multitude of original online fundraising ideas from young people are available to you! By targeting this audience, you can create more engaging campaigns to attract young people and collect donations online.

2. Work in partnership with younger donors for your fundraising initiatives

Working with young people on your online fundraising campaigns is essential. It allows you to extend the impact of your cause and engage a wider community, thanks to a snowball effect! 

The new generations bring dynamic energy and a mastery of technology, making them invaluable allies.

Take a look at the example of the Brazilian Cada Voto Conta initiative. This campaign was designed to encourage young people to take an active part in elections. Faced with growing abstention and political disengagement among young people, this campaign demonstrated how the mass mobilisation of young people can transform a simple initiative into a powerful movement.

Here are some of the keys to their success: 

  • Close collaboration with organisations and movements active in youth rights and democracy. By working hand in hand, they were able to extend the reach of the campaign and reach a wider audience.
  • An exponential effect. They teamed up with 5 young girls from the 5 regions of the country. These girls played a crucial role in spreading the word about the initiative. This made it possible to extend the reach of the campaign and reach a wider audience.
  • Gamification. The campaign offered attractive incentives to encourage young people to register to vote and take an active part in the electoral process.

The resounding success of the Cada Voto Conta campaign shows the importance of working together to involve young people in civic and social causes!


3. Get young people involved in your charitable cause for the long term

Investing in engaging young people is not limited to a single campaign or a specific engagement period. To create a lasting impact, it is essential to involve them over the long term. 

Young people are looking for causes they can faithfully support, and want to see their efforts bear fruit over the long term. Consider providing leadership opportunities, skills development, or training to keep them engaged in the long run.
When young people get involved in a cause, they are more likely to stay active in other movements and campaigns. This has been proven by many initiatives.

The example of "Cada Voto Conta" was able to transform a temporary commitment into a lasting one. After this initial experience of activism, many young people have gone on to become involved in other movements and peer to peer fundraising campaigns. All contributing to community action and defending long-term political and social causes.
So remember that by involving young people in your appeals on a long-term basis, you're not only benefiting from their dynamism and creativity, but you're also cultivating a new generation of loyal supporters and donors!

4. Encourage them to take action!

Did you know, people aged 16-24 that informally volunteered was 38% in the UK?* This demonstrates their desire to actively contribute to initiatives that are close to their hearts!
*(source: Community Life survey)

To harness this energy, charities need to provide young people with the necessary resources and support. So encourage them to take the initiative, share their ideas and make an active contribution to your campaigns. By putting them at the heart of your initiatives, you stimulate their short and long-term commitment, turning them into real agents of change.

Here's how not-for-profit organisations can actively involve young people in their fundraising campaigns and initiatives:

  • Organise fundraising events run by young people, or have a presence at events such as concerts or festivals. You can mobilise young people to man your charity's stand and raise awareness of your cause among other young people! This will give them a sense of ownership and motivate them to mobilise their own networks to support your mission!
  • Create a volunteering programme specially designed for them. Make sure it is flexible and matches their interests and skills. This could include awareness-raising activities, mentoring, community work or environmental conservation.
  • Make it easy for them to take part online, by setting up an online donation platform on your website. You can also allow young people to organise peer-to-peer campaigns on your behalf, via personal fundraising pages. This way they can support your organisation in a fun way. They can reach their fundraising goal, while contributing to concrete actions from their mobile phone or laptop!
  • Create groups of young ambassadors, encouraging them to promote your cause and appeal to potential donors and their peers on social networks.

In conclusion, engaging young people online requires a strategic and collaborative approach. To create successful fundraising campaigns, focus on your target audience. Work with young people and motivate them to get involved. This will help inspire a new group of potential supporters.

But getting young people involved is not limited to online efforts! It's important to connect the online and offline worlds by providing chances for people to interact directly and fostering strong communities. Want to read more about how to reach and adapt your donation forms and campaign pages to Generation Z? Read our article!