Modern day Alumni Relations 1: Millennials And Their Impact
With the advent of ‘Millennials’, alumni engagement has taken a giant leap forward. They are the first digital natives, they are social and they are the largest generation in the history. Their affinity for technology shapes their thinking. The good news is that the technology has never been more available than it is now. All it takes is using the right tools at the right time to win them over. That said, technology should not overshadow the good old traditions that keep relationships alive.
A healthy mix of technology and tradition is the best way to keep your millennials engaged.
Millennials are also changing the landscape of giving back to the world. Unlike the generations before them, they do not incorporate giving into their lives through a sense of duty or obligation. Millennials are seeking to impact the world with not only their money, but also with their time, their talent, and their influence via social networks.
Here a few reasons why millennials are different from their previous generations!
1. Value-based vs Obligatory Giving
With more than a million non-profits eyeing for the millennials’ support towards meaningful initiatives, it is indeed a challenging time for educational institutions to win the support of their younger alumni.
A recent study shows that 75% of millennials are more likely to donate to a charity before they donate to their Alma mater.
The reason for this is pretty straightforward: Millennials are value-based. They are less interested in donating to their alma mater, as they may not really see the same value as getting involved with an organization or another non-profit.
Therefore, any school that asks for a Millennial’s financial support for an unspecified cause with an unspecified impact is going to fall short of winning those gifts more often than not.
2. Time, Talent and Treasure
Giving for millennials has a different meaning today. Young alumni want to invest beyond their money and also devote their time and talent to widen their networks.
Having said that, we know how crucial these donations are for educational institutions to adhere to their standards of quality in education. The silver lining is that more than 73% of them are ready to give back to their Alma Mater.
Give them opportunities to give back on their own terms and they are more likely to participate and give back. An alum who has given his or her time or talent in any form is far more likely to give a financial gift in the future than otherwise.
Millennial alumni with strong, long-term relationships with their schools are more likely to:
- be willing to act as fundraisers
- make a personal donation to that school
- give larger gifts than non-volunteers
- encourage friends and family to give and volunteer as well
3. Make it personal
"49% of millennial alumni did not like the way they were asked for money."
- Millennial Alumni Report - The Chronicle of Philanthropy (2014)
Nothing calls for introspection like half of your constituents telling you that they don’t like the way you are reaching out to them. If your alumni feel that you are going to corner them into donating money, they would much rather stay at home.
As the attention spans of your alumni become shorter every day, you can stand out in the noise only if you make sure that your information is personal, relevant and interesting.
Show them all the effort that is going into your planning. Create a page on your alumni website, share it on social media.Make it personal and go social!
4. Ask them to give where they live
Millennials are the first digital native citizens. They spend a significant portion of their time on the internet. Their expectations and experiences are shaped by the world around them.
With providers like Amazon and Uber driving their online experiences every day they have every right to expect their schools to be on par with the other walks of their lives.
We can definitely say that these advancements in technology encourage Millennials to expect effortless on-demand experiences when they purchase something. They expect the same from their giving experience. Your young alumni are online, and it is an effective ecosystem for them to connect with the world around them.
It comes down to this: If you want to be a part of their world, you need to go online.
In the next posts in this series, Digital is default, will expand upon these aspects in detail.