Four Ways to Engage Millennials


Four Ways to Engage Millennials

                      Quit Texting! Call your mother!

Pop Quiz: Which artist will take the prize for “Song of the Summer”?

a. Tommy Dorsey
b. Dean Martin
c. Paula Abdul
d. None of the above
That was far too easy for you smarty pants readers.
Here are five of the eight real contenders proposed by NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. I’m sure you have them all queued up on your iPhones:

-  Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa
-  Hayley Kiyoko
-  The Carters (aka Beyonce and Jay-Z)
-  Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin
-  Zedd and Maren Morris
I threw Beyonce in there so you had a chance of recognizing at least one name. The point is…these are the artists that many Millennials – who are between the ages of 22-37 – are listening to. And most of us don’t have a clue.
You don’t have to be hip to understand Millennials (though you might want to give it a whirl). You do need to understand how they like to give and what keeps them engaged in giving.
Kayla Matthews recently posted “10 Nonprofit Marketing Strategies to Efficiently Engage Millennials.” I’ve paired it down to four strategies for your review. My comments immediately follow Matthews' recommendations.
1. Let Millennials donate via text. Millennials carry very little cash but their phone is always at the ready. How often to do see a young person talking on their smart phone? Almost NEVER unless mom or grandma are on the other end. Trust me. Phones are not for talking into.
If you don’t offer text-to-give as an option, your church is missing out on contributions from a key demographic. You’re also missing out on helping Millennials develop the habit of giving.
2. Focus on Building Relationships. As Matthews says,

Millennials won’t be sources of significant donations – at least not right away. That’s why it’s important to put your energy into building relationships and making your cause matter to Millennials. Then, when they’re more financially stable, they’ll be eager to donate.

This is where the church has it over other kinds of organizations. You already have built in community. But you have to be open to reaching out (and not smothering) Millennials who are brave enough to visit and decide to be a part of your congregation. Chances are they will love interacting with surrogate grandmas and grandpas and aunties and uncles.
3.  Show Transparency. Millennials are no different than other generations: they want to know where their money is going and what good it’s doing in the world. Share stories. Matthews also suggests you put a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on your website to answer these very questions.
4. Show That You’re Aware of Current Issues. Millennials, like most of us, are not interested in faithfully attending a museum on Sunday mornings. They want to know that the congregation they connect with is also connected with the larger world. Be proud of the way you are impacting your community and world. Let your Millennials know how they can get involved.
Like every generation, Millennials are unique. They feel passionately about who they give to and that includes feeling connected…connected to community. And BTW, maybe you’ll be inspired to keep things fresh and follow the lead of the heart-warming “Death Metal Grandma.” She’s the real front-runner for the “Song of the Summer” artist.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She thinks her rock star name will be “Cesie Plzdon’tsing.” She is accepting all other suggestions. She was 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. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
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.