Seattle Works

A blog that documents all things Seattle Works…and much much more!

“Stop trying to figure out Millennials and just include them” July 31, 2012

Filed under: Grab bag — seattleworks @ 10:50 pm

The title of this blog post comes from a participant in a Millennial focus group conducted for Achieve and Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates’ 2012 Millennial Impact Report. The report is 35 pages so if you have time to kill you can read it HERE. If you don’t feel like perusing the lengthy (yet informative) document, keep reading for our summary.

2012 Millennial Impact Report Summary

Research found Millennials wish for nonprofits to be more accessible and inclusive. They desire to give and serve in ways that engage their minds as well as their hands! Research found that nonprofits were not making a concerted effort to engage Millennials because they felt that Millennials were not worth the time and did not yield a high enough return on investment (for the record, Seattle Works believes Millenials are worth time).

When Millennials form long-term volunteer relationships, they tend to give larger gifts and encourage friends and family to give and volunteer as well. When they do volunteer, Millennials want a continuum of options – from one-time engagements to long-term opportunities – and, while they want the chance to work on the front lines delivering services, they especially want to leverage their knowledge, expertise, and backgrounds to help lead nonprofits. In particular, Millennials want to see more opportunities to lead on boards and committees.

Explaining the impact of volunteer projects can go a long way. In focus groups, many participants said that they have no problem doing filing, database work or other administrative tasks as long as they knew how that time benefited the organization.

Millennials also want to know that their financial gifts will have an impact, and are interested in seeing the tangible results that will come from their giving. They’re more likely to give larger gifts to organizations with which they have strong relationships.

Regardless of how they gave, many of the surveyed Millennials can be expected to act quickly when moved. In focus group discussions, participants also said they like to give “in the moment,” but that does not mean the gifts are haphazard or random. Millennials described a willingness to give based on emotion and in moments of inspiration, but they still want to know that their gifts will have an impact, and they’re more likely to give larger gifts to organizations with which they have strong relationships.


Research shows the first and most preferred way for a Millennial to learn more about an organization. While Millennials are attentive of social media and new technology, the website continues to serve as the primary and most frequented information point.


Three-quarters of survey respondents own a smartphone, thus giving them access to your nonprofit’s website and social media presences anytime, anywhere! Regardless of a nonprofit’s purpose, Millennials want to be able to have access to its information whenever and wherever they are.

Social Media

Facebook is more than just a passing fad. Of the 67% of respondents who said they have interacted with nonprofits via Facebook. While overall Facebook is more widely used, the focus group participants that used Twitter preferred it as a better way of building relationships with non­profits. They felt it was especially powerful when nonprofit leaders had their own account and shared insights from their perspective. Regardless of the social media channel, focus group participants warned nonprofits against using social media just to use it and not posting purposely to engage in conversations.


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