7 Reasons Millennials Give
This is how Millennials look - all the time.
It’s inevitable. You are at a church meeting and the conversation gets around to growing the church. What’s the first thing that comes out of the mouths of babes? Let’s say it all together now: “We need young people!” “We want more young families!” Well, (spoiler alert!) you and everyone else...
In fact, I just finished reading the paper “The Millennial Donor Playbook: How Young Supporters are Influencing Change Across Organizations and Generations.” (You can download the paper for your very own. I highly suggest it.)
Millennials are those sweet young things that were born between 1979 and 1993. That’s a huge age span and encompasses people who are currently still in college and those who have young families – just the people you’re looking for.
However, if you think they are ready or able to be some of your top givers in the church, you’ll have to think again. These folks are facing massive student loans, credit card debt, and are deciding how to send their own kids to college. BUT (and it’s a big but, thus the capital letters), these are people who are influencers in the community and are the ones who will eventually be able to give more financially. They are not to be dismissed.
Though they may not give big now, Millennials don’t just sit on their virtual wallets – a.k.a., their iPhones. The 2013 Millennial Impact Report lists seven reasons that motivate Millennials to donate (my comments are in parenthesis):
- They feel inspired by the nonprofit. (Is your church inspiring people in the pews?)
- There is a specific example of how their gift will make an impact. (Do you tell specific stories of impact during worship, in newsletters, on bulletin boards?)
- Their gift will be matched. (An interesting idea for the church, to say the least.)
- The nonprofit helps them or someone else they know. (Uh, hello. Your church is (hopefully) amazing at this!)
- A family member or friend asked them to give. (Inspiration for your next stewardship campaign?)
- A fundraising goal is specified. (Ah, the competitive spirit arises!)
- They are on a board or in a leadership position. (Yes, if you want Millennials in your congregation, you are going to have to let them be in positions of authority.)
There’s more to report and it’s important to remember that no generation is easily put in a box. But you best get as educated as you can about the trends so that when someone says (and you know they will) – “We need young people!” “We need young families!” – you will be able to say, “Great idea! Let’s see what that might look like if we got serious about it.”
Have you had success in attracting Millennials to your congregation? What worked? Any words of wisdom you’d pass along?
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She is OK with being a “Boomer” but would like a more sophisticated label. Please call it the “Awesome Generation.” She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.