Nonprofits Need To Start Taking Millennials Seriously

Nonprofits, hear us roar.

In July, Huffington Post author Lauren DeLisa penned an important article detailing the large-scale impact that millennial involvement is having on the traditional fiscal structures of America’s nonprofit sector.

“Move over old skoolers because now it’s bright lights, big city approaches… Ladies and gentlemen, this is not your grandmother’s philanthropy,” she writes.

No longer content to collect pennies for UNICEF on Halloween and sell Girl Scout cookies by the dollar, millennials are investing time and energy into creating long-term lifestyles that fall in line with the principles they hold dear. This means that, rather than sending in impersonal monthly donations or signing those woman-by-the-door petitions, millennials want philanthropy that follows them home. Philanthropy in the “splashy format of ‘making a difference'” with an emphasis on, “more active involvement coupled with the demand for a constant feedback loop about milestones and success rate around the philanthropic activities”.

This involvement looks like a number of things, particularly: buying products that have social missions attached to them, utilizing their social media as an ongoing fundraising platform, and engaging in enthusiastic viral and IRL social justice challenges. The age of “volunteerism” i.e. spending a measly Summer vacation building a water spigot in Uganda seems to making way for a new kind of philanthropic investment— dedicating a life to bringing water to Uganda.

The tools of engagement and fundraising have changed, she argues, and, if you research current fundraising models– the ones that show the most success are the ones that embrace modern technology, such as apps and social media, to tell their story.

But dear old school nonprofits, do not despair.

“There is much to consider in the new world of big social good. New partners, strategists, thought-leaders, diverse experts, and ideas will be needed like never before in order to drive ‘the cause’.”

Though unknown, the changes that are being brought about seem promising— as they foretell of a generation that is antsy to address systemic problems, and is no longer satisfied with having “charity” take a back seat to “profit.”

I can’t think of a better example of a dynamic, millennial-happy, fundraising tool then, well, Goodshop itself. According to the trends that this article predicts, particularly its emphasis on the importance of fusing the cultures of technology and social good, it seems that our innovative tech approach to fundraising actually is the future of fundraising.

“Leveraging technology is key when trying to get on the radar of most millennials and their giving sensibilities…the need for organizations to adapt and change continuously throughout the year is paramount. We may soon truly witness only a survival of fittest. New models will need to be created, and we will probably see more social economy offerings that somehow reflect new style partnerships between small/mid-size nonprofits with private sector companies simply because the regular plea for money to do good when do-gooding is becoming the norm just might not be any longer sustainable.”

We are excited about this fresh perspective on millennial engagement, particularly because it so perfectly aligns with our philosophies around fundraising and consumer engagement— specifically utilizing the culture of technology to bankroll non-profits and schools. Through our online shopping/fundraising portal, Goodshop offers nonprofits (of all shapes and sizes) a fresh and dynamic way to connect with their supporters, in a way that is meaningful, and all-encompassing. It is clear that building these relationships is essential for success in this new age of social good investments. And we’re glad to be able to offer it.