Fundraisers: A Millennial’s Perspective

My brother-in-law recently bought tickets to a local fundraising event, and texted the family “Good thing we got tickets, they sold out in 4 minutes”. I thought about how I would feel if I coordinated an event that sold out that quickly and I imagined I’d be feeling pretty confident about the community’s support of the organization and the event.

What engages people in fundraisers? What keeps people participating year after year? What are some classic ideas for fundraisers and what are some innovative ideas that will engage the millennial generation?

My sister and I at the Le Tour de Fort 2014
My sisters and I at the Le Tour de Fort 2014

For me personally, I feel much more satisfaction making financial contributions to organizations when it involves a memorable experience. This past weekend, I attended a pub crawl on bikes that raised money for Wounded Warrior and almost every member of my family participated with me. For the price of registration, I got a day filled with fun, family, and unique experiences. That’s what makes me want to do it year after year.

To appeal to millennials, fundraisers need to bait the line with fun and make the fundraiser feel like an event that they would attend even if it wasn’t for charity. I’ve heard many times that millennials are self-centered, and though it is obviously not true of every person in my generation, one cannot ignore the fact that we are pretty single-minded when it comes to how we spend our free time. If we aren’t working, we want to have fun.

To appeal to millennials, fundraisers should appeal to the fun side of fundraising.

I know that millennials don’t generally have the giving capacity of older generations. Fundraisers like silent auctions, wine or gourmet tastings, and golf outings wouldn’t appeal as much to them because of the high costs. So what would appeal to millennials and why would an organization want to engage them?

Let me say it again…events that involve fun and provide a memorable experience, with low costs to attend, are ideal for millennial engagement. Pub crawls, whether on bike, foot, trolley, etc. are a fantastic way to get younger people involved in a fundraising. It’s organizing and tapping into an activity that many are already doing. Another event type that is utilized locally is an outside, downtown rave. It’s low-cost to get in and refreshments aren’t pricy, plus it’s open to those younger than 21, which would up the numbers of attendance. There’s really not a lot of opportunity (if any) to hear the type of music played in that environment any other time in Fort Wayne.

It’s fundraising offering a unique and fun experience. If your fundraiser offers that, we’ll want to spend our money on it. And of course don’t underestimate the millennials expansive use of social media, which can market your event and expose your cause to a greater audience.

*Point of View post written by Katherine Dwire, Intern.

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