Three Tips for Social, Two Tools for Posting, and a Millennial in a Pear Tree

The millennial generation cares just as much about their legacy and impact on the world as they do about accolades on their individual resumes. The spirit of giving, volunteering, donating, and investing in others is especially strong among millennials during the holiday season. The Millennial Impact Report, sponsored by the Case Foundation, states that 84% of millennials made charitable donations in 2014 – and 30% of those made their donation via an online giving platform.

Are you thinking through new and innovative ways to reach the millennial generation? Optimistically, nonprofits have a digital strategy in place that uses the right channels to make it easy  for millennial donors to interact while also being practical to maintain internally. As the end of the year approaches, however, consider a few additional easy-to-implement tips that could further raise awareness and boost donations, especially among the eager-to-participate millennial demographic.

How Many Messages for Good? About a Billion.

Take every digital communications channel you know, your supporters use, and the world recognizes. What is the common denominator? Texting.

SMS integration into your digital strategy is important, and there are an abundance of text-to-give platforms. Fairly new to the scene is a company called Twilio, a Silicon Valley cloud communications company creating software that makes reaching distinct audiences via text message simple. For example, the American Red Cross implemented Twilio SMS communication capabilities to rally geographic-specific volunteers via text messaging – a technology everyone uses and understands.

At Dreamforce 2015, Twilio pledged to set aside 1% of its current equity to fund their charity arm,, expanding their commitment to philanthropy and setting more nonprofits up for targeted communications success. Their corresponding campaign ‘A Billion Messages for Good’ echoes that commitment and furthers the impact of social good.  501c(3) nonprofits are eligible to apply to receive $500 of kickstart credits, and a 25% discount on SMS (text) messaging, voice calls, client calls and recording.

Not a coder? No problem. Twilio has support materials to help you along the way, including non-coder guides to walk non-programmers through the SMS message setup process step-by-step.

More Than Shameless Selfies

Instagram is red-hot right now, having grown a community of 400 million users in just under 5 years. Business Intelligence recently reported that Instagram is more important (in terms of prestige) among young people than Facebook or Twitter. What Instagram possesses as a powerful visual storytelling tool, however, it lacks as a donation platform – because of the inability to add donation links directly to photos or in the comment fields. To overcome this, put a donation link in your Instagram profile with a mention of the link in individual photo captions.

In addition, nonprofits may consider accompanying storytelling on Instagram with sponsored content (ie: an advertisement) to further their reach and drive people to invest in their cause. Instagram’s self-serve ad platform is perfectly simple to use, and you pay only for results. You have the ability to target individuals based on the content they like, comment on, view, etc. This means a local animal shelter can directly target Instagram users who share pet adoption stories or engage with various animal rescue content.

Additionally, Instagram offers the choice of various calls-to-action. Instead of a headline like “Shop Now,” nonprofits can select “Learn More,” making their relationship with a potential donor more authentic and emotive. Video content can be especially powerful for nonprofits, allowing up to 30 seconds of visual storytelling. If a nonprofit is crafty enough in its targeting, messaging, and execution, you will see dividends from the investment in sponsored content.

#donate – The Hashtag of Generosity and Real-Time Donations

Recently founded Washington, DC startup GoodWorld is changing the donation landscape on Twitter and Facebook. GoodWorld has made donating an instant, easy experience that can be shared to inspire action from others.

Recently I met a nonprofit representative at a social event, and she was telling me compelling stories about their work and impact on others’ lives. I felt compelled to invest in their mission in that very moment, on-the-spot. She referred me to use GoodWorld, asking that I simply tweet “#donate $amount @thecharityname” to commit the donation quickly and easily. As soon as I posted my tweet, I received an email with a personalized payment link that I could complete when I got home. GoodWorld helps capitalize on these moments of inspiration, translating emotional response into commitment and action

How does it work? Sign up your nonprofit organization through GoodWorld, whose technology will then scan your Twitter and Facebook pages for the phrase “#donate.” Then instruct your donors to simply write “#donate” on any Facebook post or Tweet with your nonprofit tagged in the post. This hashtag triggers an email directly to the interested donor with a personalized link to complete the donation.

The act of using #donate not only secures instant dollar donations but also spreads your organization’s message to the reach of that donor’s social following. You’re using donors as your brand ambassadors, making your job as a communications professional easier than ever.

This is simply a sprinkling of new trends and ideas to think through as end-of-year add-ons to your nonprofit’s already existing digital strategy. Or maybe they spark thoughts to fully incorporate into your 2016 digital strategy. Inevitably trends shift, making room for better technology to emerge every day. Your digital roadmap will make the shifting journey easier to navigate, and put you in control of having the most impact on your audiences.

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