3 unimportant facts about Millennials (and one that may be HUGE)

Did I hear someone say “We’ve got to get Millennial donors” again?

Yes, I did. Just about daily.

It’s not a very smart strategy. And The Agitator is getting annoyed by it too, as in this post: Get Your Millennial Audience Off My Lawn, Part 2.

The post cites some findings from recent studies:

  1. Millennials are less satisfied in their jobs.
  2. Millennials are more narcissistic.
  3. Millennials are less philanthropic.
  4. Millennials are more philanthropic.

Here’s the problem. Those first three findings don’t reveal anything about Millennials. They tell us what traits that are typical of that age group. Of any generation.

Most people’s first few jobs are not so great. That’s a fact of life when you’re in your 20s and 30s. So is being more narcissistic and less philanthropic. It’s not just Millennials. Everyone is like that in their early adult years.

The fourth finding is a bit more interesting. It might be true, and it might even be specific to Millennials as opposed to previous generations. They seem to have a stronger service ethic and philanthropic tendency than earlier generations. But it’s too early to know if that is meaningfully true. We’ll know when the Millennials hit their 50s and up. If they truly are more philanthropic than other generations, we may experience a real golden age of fundraising. (If you are now a young fundraising professional and stay in the industry, you will get to experience this, if it happens!)

But not just yet. For now, they are young, far from their peak earning, too busy to pay a lot of attention to the world, not apt to form relationships with organizations. All things that make them not great prospects for strategic fundraising programs.

Yet.

For now, Boomers are the bulk of our donors, along with the dwindling older generation. Gen X is just starting to show up. Don’t spend too much time strategizing about Millennials. It’s a waste of time.

Just look forward to what they might bring when they join the party in a couple of decades.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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