Last week, I attended SURGE Day 2012, a day-long graduation celebration for 10 new Technology Start-ups that just graduated from the SURGE Accelerator incubator program.
Jason Dorsey, noted author of “My Reality Check Bounced” and expert on communicating across generations, was the morning keynote speaker. Jason shared his advice on how to gain a better perspective on how each of the other generations view the world.
StartUps and NonProfits
I often think that startups and nonprofits have a lot in common. In both cases, the founders are incredibly passionate about their ideas and missions, incredibly overworked, and spend a lot of time asking people to give them money for their organization.
At the heart of both startups and nonprofits, funding and passion are the keys to success.
As Jason talked about the best ways managers and executives in older generations could support and get along with the younger Gen Y crowd, I saw correlations beyond just the workplace.
A recent study by the Kauffman Foundation shared that more than 54% of Gen Y’s are either already entrepreneurs or plan to start their own company and one thing Gen Y definitely has in abundance is passion!
Gen Y’s Spending Power Now and in the Future
On the other hand, most Gen Y’s don’t have an abundance of money – something that’s been true for all generations when they’re still in their 20’s. Gen Y startups often seek outside funding from angel investors and VCs before seeking to bootstrap their ideas. As Jason explained this trait: “Most Gen Y’s are willing to take a substantial paycut just to get their idea off the ground – after all, their parents are still supporting them.”
Gen Y’s Catching Up Fast
Jason Dorsey’s company, The Center for Generational Kinetics has done a number of studies across generations to identify the key traits that distinguish each generation from the others. Gen Y is the fastest growing demographic in the energy, software, and marketplace and by 2017, Gen Y will be outspending Baby Boomers.
Until now, no other generation has matched Boomer spending. Boomer spending accounts for 94% of spending on consumer packaged goods, 80% of luxury travel spending, 62.5% of annual new car sales, and they even account for the majority of online spending according to a report by boomer marketing expert Nancy Padberg
Gen Y is going to have a significant economic impact in the U.S. in the coming years. There are some absolutely great tips on Jason’s blog “What the Gen” about Gen Y’s consumer purchasing habits and I encourage anyone selling something to check out the blog.
Capture Gen Y’s Attention
The key to reaching Gen Y’s to grab their attention and motivate them to spend money with your organization is to communicate with them in their space. Jason Dorsey shared Gen Y’s most preferred ways to communicate:
- Gen Y’s most preferred method of communicating is text messaging
- Gen Y’s 2nd most preferred method of communicating is email
- Gen Y’s LEAST preferred method of communication is talking on the phone
A really interesting fact about the my generation is that 51% of Gen Y’s are more likely to trust the opinions of a stranger who shares a review on a social media network than if their friends and family verbally make a suggestion. This is a significant difference from other generations, who tend to be more skeptical of the people they run into on the Web.
Generation Y trusts technology more than previous generations, and we trust the people who are using technology the same way that we are more than past generations would. Organizations that recognize this and customize their messages to Gen Y differently from their other constituents and donors will see better results from the next generation.
Here’s 5 Tips to Increase Donations from Gen Y
Even though NonProfit organizations aren’t specifically selling something, you are asking for money in exchange for the benefits you offer your donors and members. Give your fundraising a boost by using these tips to talk to Gen Y’s in their language this year.
1) Keep Donation Amounts Small and Flexible
Gen Y is cash-poor and we aren’t known to save money typically. A donation of even $50 is daunting to Gen Y’s so offer smaller donation amounts. You can also include a “Suggest a Donation” field and let us decide how much we want to give.
That’s one of the reasons that we included the option to allow your donors to suggest the payment amount on Custom donation forms in Tendenci.
2) Accept Credit Card Donations on Your Website
Most Gen Y’s have credit cards and a debit card. Most of us do not have a check handy and we really aren’t fans of having to pay with cash. Make it simple for us to give you money when we are ready and accept online donations via credit cards. The easier you make it for us to donate, the more likely we are to do so.
3) Share Your NonProfit’s Stories on Social Media
Studies show that people don’t like to go to their Facebook Wall or Twitter feed and see organizations asking them to donate. The most successful social media campaigns for nonprofits revolve around storytelling and sharing what you are doing to make the world a better place. Use your social media channels to highlight the kids you fed, the puppies you rescued, and the people who have a better life now because of your work.
Then, make it easy for them to find your website so they can donate and support your cause. Once they’ve donated, let your Gen Y supporter tweet or +1 or “Like” your organization and share that they donated to their network. Talk about others, and let others talk about you for greater results.
4) Don’t call Gen Y’s – Use Text and Email
Remember Jason Dorsey’s report saying Gen Y’s preferred text messaging, followed by email for communicating and save the personal phone calls for your boomer supporters. You’ll need to get permission before you text and email, and then you’ll have a far better chance of getting your message through to Gen Y’s.
In fact- give them a way to donate via text like Mobile Loaves and Fishes did in their campaign to fight homelessness.
5) Give Gen Y’s Non-Monetary Ways to Donate
Gen Y’s often just don’t have the financial resources to give money to a cause. Many of us are still finding our talents and way in life and if you believe one of your Gen Y supporters has skills that could help your organization, ask them to volunteer. We are always surprised and honored by requests to help and our time is something we usually have more of to give than our cash.
Gen Y’s are also more familiar with technology and can help with your email marketing, website, social media, and with text messaging. NonProfits often struggle to find the resources and funds to manage their technology, so find some Gen Y’s who are passionate about your cause and ask if they’ll donate tech and web support!
We have some exciting things happening over here. First, come check out this past week’s software updates for Version 5.0.78 and find out the latest features and functionality added to make it easier for you to manage your website.
Here’s the highlights from this week’s updates:
1) Sortable Fields for Reports – Reports now have sort options using the field headers.
2) Tendenci first will check if an email address is associated with an existing user before it creates a username using the available email address during a membership import
3) WYSIWYG Rich Text Editors have been added for Organizer, Location, and Speakers on the Event Add form
New Summer Training and Events
We are adding several new training webinars, workshops, and events to our Tendenci Training Calendar. We are always looking for suggestions so if you don’t see a topic on the calendar, leave a comment below or contact us with your suggestions!