Gen Y Donors Rely On Trust, Not Celebrity


Millennials are more likely to give to charitable organizations that they or their friends trust and believe in, rather than those endorsed by celebrities.

According to the second annual Millennial Donors Survey, 93% of people ages 20 to 35, who are often characterized as self-centered and disconnected, gave to non-profits. The bulk of those gifts were small -- 58% of survey respondents said their maximum gift was $150, although 10% said they gave $1,000 or more in 2010.

According to the survey, 85% of Millennials were motivated to give to an organization because of a compelling cause or mission, while 56% said they had a personal connection or trust in the leadership of the organization.

Nearly 85% of the survey respondents said they were very or somewhat interested in contributing to organizations they trust. The survey respondents also said they gave most often as a result of more traditional, personal requests, although they said they prefer to give primarily using online tools. And while losing trust with an organization was the biggest factor in Millennials stopping donations (90% said they'd stop donating once an organization lost their trust), the next biggest factor was over-sharing.



"The second-biggest reason for Millennials to stop donating is over-communication and frequency," says Derrick Feldmann, CEO of Indianapolis donor engagement company Achieve (which conducted the survey in conjunction with Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates). "How [communication] continues throughout the year. This frequency of communication is a factor when it comes to them stopping donations. Organizations need to find what frequency is good for them and what's overkill."

Online tools were also an important factor for Millennials to gauge whether an organization was worthy of their trust. According to the research, 71% of respondents got information about nonprofits through Web searches. Nearly two-thirds (62%) said they preferred to get information via e-mail, and 56% got info from their peers. One-third of Millennials said they used Facebook to gather information on an organization. (Seventy percent of Millennials said they looked to an organization's Web site to understand its mission and values; 56% said they wanted to determine its financial condition.)

"How that message or mission is correlated online is going to be a factor for Millennials in how they're going to get involved," Feldmann tells Marketing Daily. "A substantial amount of them used Google to find out about causes. From a marketing perspective, how organizations position themselves [through] search is going to be a big factor in how Millennials work with them."

Despite the drawing power of celebrity, an endorsement or plea from a high-profile personality does not necessarily translate into Millennial giving. Of the survey respondents, only 2% said celebrity endorsements or pleas motivated them to donate to a cause.

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