Contrary to what you might think, Millennials are generous and technology isn't the only way to motivate them to donate to nonprofits (including churches), according to the 2011 Millennial Donor Report.
Among the nearly 3,000 Millennials between the ages of 20 and 35 surveyed, 93 percent gave to nonprofits in 2010. Most gave to more than one nonprofit.
More than half of these Millennials gave in response to a personal request for support. Pastors and church leaders feeling uneasy about asking personally for donations might take comfort in knowing that informal, personal conversations about the ministry, and ways to support it, may build the relationship in a way that encourages future giving.
Trusting the individual who personally requests support motivates Millennials to give, with 84 percent saying they are most likely to give if they fully trust the organization. Conversely, 90 percent of Millennials would stop giving if they lost trust in a nonprofit.
Celebrity endorsements to motivate financial giving don't resonate well among Millennials—only two percent are motivated by those endorsements to donate. For churches that ever thought the public backing of a big name would make a difference in generating additional financial support for a campaign or other giving initiative, this suggests otherwise.
One way to help gain this needed trust of Millennials is to give them chances to meet and talk with church leadership: 63 percent say this ability influences their trust of a nonprofit.
Hearing or reading about how their financial support is making a difference also helps build Millennials' trust. One way for church leaders to apply this is to include testimonies in church services and on their websites if they don't already.
Communicating the financial condition of the nonprofit is also important in gaining Millennials' trust. Seventy percent say this influences their ability to trust an organization.
Another way to motivate Millennials in financial giving is to offer a compelling mission and cause. Along with occasionally reviewing the church's mission and cause, church leaders should make sure both are clearly communicated and found on their websites (71 percent of Millennials get information about a nonprofit through web searches).
A way to keep and build trust that's not mentioned in the report would be to keep confidential information secure. These two resources can help:
- Creating a Church Office You Can Trust is a helpful downloadable resource if you would like to know ways to help ensure that privacy is kept;
- Protecting Electronic Data is a downloadable resource that will help you protect your church records and data from hackers and malicious software.
Beyond these three ways to motivate Millennials to donate—personally asking, having a compelling mission, and earning trust—churches should still think about online approaches to communicate and encourage giving. In the report, 49 percent of Millennials say they give online, and websites communicate mission and cause. If worries about liabilities associated with websites makes you hesitant to create or revamp your church website, the download Untangling the Web Feature Report can help.
For more information on Millennials, the recent Leadership Journal article "Meet the Millennials" covers other statistics about this group, including their views on family, marriage, and religion.
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