What changes will millennials bring to nonprofits?

February 9, 2015

What changes will millennials bring to nonprofits?


There’s been a lot of interest in researching millennials, the largest generation, particularly when it comes to how they impact nonprofits.


There’s been a lot of interest in researching millennials, the largest generation, particularly when it comes to how they impact nonprofits.
This generation is different from its predecessors that it trusts institutions and traditional methods of giving to social causes, explained NPR. It’s also a sizable pool of individuals – 80 million people by some estimates – interested in making a lasting change, and they’re reaching a point where they’ve got money to spend on charitable causes.

A change in rhetoric

One of the biggest changes facing nonprofits and foundations is the way they reach out to millennials. Language plays a big role in how charitable organizations attempt to engage this demographic. Among many millennials there’s a sense that they need to contribute to a cause based on obligation, explained Amy Webb, forecaster of digital trends for nonprofit and for-profit companies. Millenials would be more likely to say they’re “investing in,” rather than “donating to” a cause. What’s the difference? Webb said there are two parts of the word that differentiate from the act of contribution. On one hand, there’s the financial aspect of investing money in an organization, but there’s also a strong sentiment of being involved with passion. But the ways nonprofits engage millennials is markedly different than with previous generations.

Digitally engaged

According to the Pew Research Center, 75 percent of this generation indicated they have a profile on a social network. This means that philanthropic groups have an entirely new platform to reach out to donors. Traditionally, membership organizations and nonprofits have relied on direct marketing tools to get in touch with donors. This approach is largely a one-way conversation where the nonprofit organization provides information and hopes for a response.

Social networks, on the other hand, are multi-directional communication tools. They allow large numbers of people from diverse backgrounds and geographies to hold active discussions. This gives nonprofits an easy way to participate in, or even start, conversations with potential donors.

Educated and research-driven

According to Pew Research, nearly 40 percent of millennials were enrolled in college when the 2008 Census survey was conducted. As a result, they’re the most educated age group in the history of the U.S. There’s also a significant portion of the millennial population that entered into graduate studies. Part of the reason for this stems from the fact that the Great Recession left millennials with few choices in the job market.

According to “The 2014 Millennial Impact Report,” this generation tends to prefer communal volunteer projects than giving to a specific campaign. When the study was conducted, as much as 55 percent of millennials had volunteered in the past month and 46 percent had donated $1,000 or more during the previous year. However, all of these activities were preceded by research into an organization.

Eighty-eight percent of millennials donated to a nonprofit in 2013. Charities need to recognize the impact of this group and the cultural shifts underway in the giving community, especially when they develop fundraising strategies. Traditional donation channels and outreach likely won’t bring as strong of a return on investment as in the past.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.

Ready to chat?
Get in touch today to request a no-obligation savings evaluation.


First Nonprofit has saved us so much money over the state’s program. We had one little glitch with the state recently and we contacted FNP immediately. FNP staff called us back immediately and moved to remedy the problem.

WI Council of Religious & Independent Schools (WCRIS), Madison, WI

First Nonprofit has been a great partner. They have helped us saved hundreds of thousands of dollars! They have awesome resources for our nonprofit organization. Thanks for the partnership.

Community Care Inc., Milwaukee, WI

Life is certainly busy these days but having business partners like First Nonprofit has made some of the process hassle free. We have worked with this team for years. When we changed payroll systems, they outlined every step. I think this team is terrific and I know they get the job done! Thank you, Cruz, to all the team at FNP.

Gulfside Healthcare Services, New Port Richey, FL

FNP has helped our agency to save thousands of dollars every year on our unemployment coverage. The service is phenomenal, and we are thankful to their team as our partner. My experience working with Marshall on the advocacy around UE for nonprofits was also a highlight as someone who teaches advocacy and lobbying for nonprofits. Really, your whole team is top shelf, so thank YOU!

Advancing Academics, Turtle Creek, PA

Chicago Children’s Theatre has greatly benefited from our partnership with First Nonprofit, and I have always enjoyed working with the staff on our filings and any complicated questions. I would not hesitate to recommend First Nonprofit to fellow nonprofits. We’re very happy customers.

Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago, IL

FNP is a great resource for Daniel Kids. To have a TPA that we can count on to take point on not only managing our unemployment claims, but to support and guide any protest hearing, is invaluable. All the professional support staff we have worked with have been excellent, very knowledgeable and responsive. We are grateful for the help and support, thank you.

Daniel Kids, Jacksonville, FL

When I first began in my position at my organization, I hadn’t had experience working with a company like FNP. The staff was so patient and helpful in helping to explain the benefits of First Nonprofit. Anytime I reach out with a question I receive a quick, clear, and thorough response. I’m so thankful that we decided to partner with FNP. Their excellence in customer service, coupled with their variety of packages frees us up to truly serve our staff and community with a peace of mind knowing that our organization is protected against unanticipated unemployment insurance expenses.

Homes of Hope, Chicago, IL

First Nonprofit gets an A+ in my book. You are so easy to work with & very knowledgeable! Whether it is my quarterly correspondence with Kim or my random interactions with Dawn about a bond … I am so pleased that I get to work with such a helpful company. Thank you!

Women's Choice Network, Pittsburgh, PA