Guest post by Tess Pajaron
The Urban Institute reported that 1.44 million nonprofits were registered with the Internal Revenue Service in 2012. Many of those organizations struggle to attract young people – a group that typically has both the strength and endurance to face difficult and challenging tasks. Whether you are trying to attract young donors or bring in new volunteers, you have to employ the right strategy. Here’s an overview of five effective methods to reach out to young people and get them involved.
Get vocal about your organization
Consistent promotional strategy requires clear vision, mission, and professional branding. Successful charitable organizations that range from giants like Greenpeace and Doctors Without Borders, to smaller nonprofits, such as Defenders of Wildlife or Alley Cat Allies have been implementing these rules for years.
In order to draw youngsters to your organization, you need to keep your message simple, fresh and entertaining. Organize events for young people during which you can distribute merchandise like leaflets, bookmarks and other attractive materials to help spread your message among young people. Bear in mind that peer influence is one of the primary reason why young people get involved.
Highlight the cause
Millennials are mostly motivated by passion for a cause, so when spreading the word about your charity, concentrate on your mission, not the institution itself. With that in mind, motivate young people to get involved by showing them that they are able to make a difference.
Advertise what’s been made possible with their support and share stories of people who benefit from the help your organization provides. By keeping your communications frequent and open, you’ll not only attract new people to your nonprofit, but also maintain a high level of motivation and enthusiasm from your current volunteers – they’re the best brand evangelists you can have!
Don’t underestimate the power of social media
Social media channels are currently the most successful communication tools popular among the younger generation. TED effectively uses Facebook and Twitter to share their lectures, publish articles and ask engaging questions to boost social interactions. Through these activities, they have gained over 7 million worldwide followers.
Create profiles and actively participate in social media. Choose only those networks that can help your cause – Twitter might be a much better fit than overcrowded and entertainment-driven Facebook. Make sure to know which social networks are used by your target audience and meet them where they tend to hang out online.
Share inspiring, fascinating and engaging content – once people share it to their own networks, your cause will reach more individuals than ever, some of which might get engaged enough to become volunteers.
Invest in your website
Numerous nonprofit organizations don’t pay enough attention to their online presence. The website that features an outdated web design and is not properly displayed on various types of screens won’t get much attention.
Young visitors are more likely to stay on your page and read through your content if the website follows current web design trends. If you want to appeal to younger audience, make use of bright colors and use good quality visual materials.
Follow the example of One or Not For Sale and see how an engaging website can work to your advantage. Believe it or not, your page really does require a great FAQ section. Why? A well organized and informative FAQ page is an extremely effective trust building tool. This is a place to share your story, tell about your organization’s ethics, highlight achievements and list your affiliations.
Make experiences mutually rewarding
Young people turn to charitable organizations to gain precious work and life experience. To reach a wider audience you can offer volunteering opportunities that will help with future college admissions, guarantee extra credit or help young individuals launch their careers.
Make sure to collaborate with universities, colleges and even high schools – reaching out to those institutions will help you attract more young people to your cause. Be present at job fairs and prepare a volunteering plan that clearly states all the benefits young people will get – knowledge, experience, specific skills – once they decide to work with you.
Idealistic young volunteers are extremely beneficial to the growth of nonprofit organizations. Full of life, they are an inexhaustible source of innovative ideas. I hope that with the help of these suggestions, your nonprofit will be bursting with energized young individuals wanting to get involved.
Tess Pajaron is a Community Manager at Open Colleges, an online learning provider based in Sydney, Australia. She has a background in Business Administration and Management.