How Millennials and Social Media Are Changing Capital Campaigns

How Millennials and Social Media Are Changing Capital Campaigns


How Millennials and Social Media Are Changing Capital CampaignsA decade ago, when social media was still a burgeoning idea, how did you hear about worthy causes that inspired you to open your wallets and give? Was it a commercial on television (listen, the In the Arms of the Angels one with the sad animals still gets me every time) or did you receive direct mail with details about why you should give to their capital campaign? Maybe you heard about certain causes through friends, family members or your local church.

Now think about today. Where do you find causes worthy of giving? For most people, those campaigns can be found on social media along with pretty much every detail of our lives. As a digital marketing agency, we talk about this often. Social media and millennials have changed the way they shop and give and in turn, have changed the way businesses and nonprofits market their capital campaigns.

Whether you want to build an orphanage in another country or expand your animal shelter to house more animals, your cause is a worthy one. Ultimately, you are trying to help. While you know that, everyone else may not. Millennials grew up during a time when charity scams were exceptionally prevalent, which makes them leery of anyone asking for money. They aren’t going to give (or be scammed) the same way their parents did.

While they are smarter when it comes to sniffing out scams, they are also well accustomed to instant gratification. Want to watch a show? Netflix. Want the answer to some obscure question? Google. They believe their time to be precious, which means they aren’t going to spend it in ways they don’t see beneficial or enjoyable. So, what is going to make them spend their money and more importantly their time on your cause?

Thanks to social media people are sharing every detail of their lives online. We scroll down our newsfeed and find many selfies, articles, and updates about day-to-day interactions. Your mother ran into an old friend at Kroger, your sister bought new lipstick, your cousin shared her love of Disney in a Buzzfeed article. Ultimately, people want to feel like they are investing into something, financially and emotionally. Companies can use the desire people have to share details of their lives for a good cause instead of just selfies. Here are a few tips.

Investment (Shareworthy)

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge of last summer. Of course, you do. No one could miss the dozens of posts on social media, but that is exactly the point. The reason it was unavoidable is that it made people feel like they were investing in something important while playing into their narcissism (in a good way). Change your approach to play on supporters desire to share. Ask them to take a selfie describing why they chose to give and post along with a specific hashtag.


Millennials aren’t going to be duped easily, and that means they aren’t going to give blindly to some organization. Charity: Water, a nonprofit that provides clean drinking water to third world countries, changed their tactics by placing remote sensors on wells to show their supporters how much water is being used from the wells. Supporters can then track their investment in the company. You can apply this to your own organization. How can you show your supporters how their money helps your cause?


Over the past decade, volunteerism has been a large part of teens’ mindset. Whether they are getting community service hours for school recognition or beefing up their applications for college, volunteering is encouraged and almost forced among the millennial generation. They’ve been “trained” to volunteer which has been a contributing factor to the mindset that their time is just as valuable as their money. Often, millennials will give their time over their money, especially those who are just starting their careers (student loans, man). So giving your supporters the option to donate or invest their time rather than their money is a great way to reach them. Also, it goes along with the trust factor. If they are coming out to help, then they will know exactly how your organization works and if it is worthy of support. You can ask for volunteers through social media. (Here are some other great tips on how to make social media exciting.)

Use these tips during your next fundraiser or campaign and see how much of an impact it has. For more ways to change your social media presence, check out our Facebook Ebook.

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