Congratulations! You have a huge crowd of graduates from your institution. They’re moving out into the world, into jobs and travel and family. You’ve supported them for years, engaging them in campus life and working to provide the best possible education, and now you want to keep them connected. How can you work on the alumni engagement of this group of Millennials?
1. Remember That Millennials Can’t Stand Advertising
The best way to advertise to Millennials is to avoid advertising to Millennials. The Millennial audience sees advertising as an unwelcome intrusion into the flow of their day. Instead of advertising, make an offer. For example, you could develop a blog that offers information about turning your college degree into a meaningful career. This valuable information will keep Millennials coming back to your website, and from there, you can connect with them about a future donation. As you develop your fundraising strategies for your Millennial audience, start with the content and the story.
2. Show Them the Impact
Millennials want to feel like they’re a force for good in the world. They need to see the story that’s behind your request for donations. Instead of asking for general donations to their alma mater, focus your donation requests on specific funds. For instance, a Millennial who has a steady job after years of saving for college may want to contribute to your college’s scholarship fund. The more specific and meaningful the cause, the more Millennials will want to help. When you’re trying to attract this younger audience, exceptional storytelling needs to be the norm.
3. See Donations Differently
While large annual or monthly donors are like gold to colleges’ fundraising efforts, the fact is that Millennials don’t necessarily have the means or the interest to donate in this way. For one thing, they’re fresh out of college and may not have a full time job. They’re also less interested in having one in general. More Millennials will cycle through multiple careers, have multiple careers at the same time, or combine self employment and employment through an organization. This means that their personal finances are always shifting, and while they may be able to give a substantial donation today, they can’t always commit to doing the same six months down the line.
4. Make It Personal and Social
Millennials are networked. They live online, sending texts and engaging on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Your institution needs to be part of this important aspect of their lives. As you work on your fundraising campaigns, consider how you’ll develop them on social media. Social media should be an integral part of your alumni engagement strategy, not just an afterthought. Look at a wide variety of social media sites including Instagram and LinkedIn, and create unique content strategies to reach out on each one.