Ep 189 | Targeting Gen Z with your Fundraising Efforts

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Targeting Gen Z might feel a little crazy. The oldest is only 25 years old after all. The sooner you create some conversations with your gen Z audience the better your long term success. Gen Z is creating new ways to earn money, build success and share causes that are important to them. Engaging with them now can help you get in front of new audiences and build more awareness for your cause. 

What you'll learn:

→ characteristics about Gen Z.
→ creative ways to engage Gen Z.
→ building relationships with your existing donors kids and grand kids.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[3:47] Characteristics of Gen Z. They are born roughly between 1996 and 2012. They are a digital generation and don't know a world without technology. They love imagery and video and are about building community and engaging with brands they feel community with.
[12:19] Build trust. Create collaborations to build trust faster with audiences. This can include guesting on podcasts, videos, guest blogging, etc. The key is targeting people that have the same audience that you're trying to reach.
[12:29] Less tweaking and more testing. This can be more of a mindset piece. As you debrief from a campaign, it's not about “fixing” what didn't work but having other options and contingencies that you can use to improve and keep testing. Focus on one area of your funnel at a time, not the whole thing, so you can do it really well.
[18:39] Use the data to ask the right questions. When you're brainstorming or planning your marketing the data tells you where to go. Trust the data and use it as a guide for the decisions you make. Put your plans into quartly projects and no more than three each quarter. 

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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I'm sure you've had this conversation at one point in time in your organization, our donors are aging out, we don't have enough younger or newer donors coming in, and our fundraising just isn't sustainable. This is a conversation that happens over and over and over again at various stages in the growth of your organization. And as we continue to feature and work on and nurture some of our bigger donors, without actually taking the time to also be working, and having conversation and building and nurturing relationships with those that can't yet give at those amounts. But we hope to one day, and this comes about for multiple reasons. Number one, we don't know for sure if these people were nurturing earlier in their life, or going to have the capacity to give at the same levels. It takes extra time. And we know where the money is coming from right now. So we're just going to continue to work on those relationships. This can be dangerous for your organization, and not bring about sustainability when it comes to long term progress programs and ways that you can impact the community that you serve. Now, this is getting even more complicated as we talk about the personality and the style of younger millennials and Gen Z. It's a completely different ballgame with this generation, because they've had technology their whole lives, they are entrepreneurs in ways that we would have never imagined. And they just have a different set of values for the way that they're showing up and how they want to live their lives. So in this episode, I'm going to talk to you a little bit about what to think about with some of these younger generations and how you can reach them. And I'm going to give you some ideas for how you can start to nurture and grow and build relationships with these younger generations. Because the other thing is because they're coming up with new ways of making money and ways of building their careers, they might be ready to be major donors for your organization younger than what you're used to. So I'm excited to dive deep into some of these resources and ways that you can think about your marketing and your outreach to some of these younger folks, I myself have two younger Gen Z's and I'm what you would call an older millennial. So it's just really interesting to kind of dive into this conversation, and really be honest with ourselves about where our money is going to be coming from in the next 1015 years for our organization. Because I know if you're listening to this podcast, you're in it for the long haul, you're not just here. For a hobby, you're really trying to make a major impact. And that takes time. So that's what we're going to discuss in today's episode, and I'm real excited about it.

But before we get into it, if you're looking for additional ways to raise money online, make sure you grab our guide nine ways to fundraise online. It's got great ideas and tips for you as you think about your strategies in this coming year. So you can grab it this free guide at https:/thefirstclick.net/fundraise . I hope that you will take at least one you probably doing some of them, but at least one of the ideas and run with it in the next few months and see what happens as you continue to grow in the online space and bring in more donors through your website. But for now, let's get into the episode.

[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So I feel like every year we talk about every generation, we talk about how the next generation is this or is that and this is just a common progression. And we can't forget that the generations before us right are late laying the groundwork for upcoming generations to continue to do better. And as nonprofits that's what we're here for. We're here to continue to leave the world a better place than where it was when we arrived or started our organization in whatever area it is that you are serving. So before we get into some ways that you can interact and engage with Gen Z, and younger millennials, I want to just kind of talk a little bit about who we're talking about, and what some of the characteristics are. Now, these are broad characteristics, right? Just like boomers and millennials, not everybody's going to fit into these categories. But these are great things to think about when it comes to our marketing if this is a group that we're trying to target. So we're going to talk a little bit about who they are and why we might want to think about targeting them now. So Gen Z is people born roughly between 1996 and two 2012 And depending on what you look at, these numbers can be, or the years can be different. So everybody has a little bit of a different chart. And that millennials are typically born between 1981 and 1995. These, this, these generations have been raised with tech in their life. For the most part, my daughter is Gen Z. And I think she was born the year of the iPad that it was first launched. So she has never known a world without technology. In fact, we have so much fun talking through things like I had to teach her how to make an actual phone call from her phone, because all they do is FaceTime. So this is definitely a digital generation. They are all about community. They want to build and grow and feel attached to the brands that they are purchasing. And they often make buying decisions from the people that they connect with and follow online influencers, if you will, YouTube, tic tac, right? They're seeing things from people that they have decided they know and trust that they have felt our big community, engage them, bring them in and make them feel like they're a part of something. That's who they're connecting with, and who they are purchasing from and making they're like learning about things and making buying decisions more about that. They are a more diverse generation, from the from not just ethnicity, but gender as well, and conversations around that. They love imagery and video. So those plain text posts that we used to know and love from Facebook are no longer a thing. Everything that you create needs to have an engage in all of those senses. They seek security and stability. So one thing that I read is, you know, the millennials, especially older millennials, grew up with parents that were in the prime of the economy, things were great things were going well. Gen Z has seen parents that have lived through the recession. So they are definitely much more frugal with their dollars. But they're spending it in different ways. So they value experiences. And they value like I said, community. So they're not buying houses as much. They're not buying cars as often, right, these big ticket items that for boomers was a place of status, these generations are not doing that they want to get out and about an experience life, and all it has to offer. So even though they're seeking financial stability, it doesn't mean that they're not spending money, it just means they're spending money in different ways. So the more we can connect and engage with them on a personal level, on a values based level, the better off you're going to be as an organization. And they're very entrepreneurial. They're using tech, and they're coming up with ways to get out and build the businesses and the life they want. Because remember, they want that flexibility, they want to travel, they want to live life, and they want to make money while they're living the life that they want. So they're really pulling those things together and creating businesses that I'm sure you've seen all over the place. So one of those examples being Mr. Beast, my kids are obsessed with him my son, especially who is 11. Mr. Beast is 24 years old, and he has a YouTube channel that is amazing, huge, big. Everywhere he spends millions of dollars producing some of these videos and has multiple millions of followers. He has turned this into Mr. Beast philanthropy which gives specifically to food banks. In fact, he started his own food bank. But food availability is something that's really important to him. He has multiple channels, he now has a chocolate bar line that is at Walmart, he has a fast food chain, Mr. Beast burger that you can order all over the place. And when I talk about entrepreneurial spirit, he created a new way of creating a brand. He doesn't have brick and mortar stores of his own, you don't drive around town and see Mr. Beast burger. But instead he gave his product to other stores where they can create it and push it out and sell it and you buy it through a delivery app like Uber Eats or DoorDash. And that's how you can get Mr. Beast burger. So he didn't have the infrastructure of having to go out and get all of these locations. So he was able to get his product everywhere, almost immediately. So really thinking about ways for people to use tech and be creative and problem solve. I mean, he's 24 years old and he's worth like multiple millions of dollars and it all started with creating videos on YouTube. So that's just a little bit about who Gen Z is younger millennials are kind of, you know a little bit more

you know, like the millennial wanted more work life balance, things like that, which has allowed, I think Gen Z to really build on this entrepreneurial spirit. But the reason why we want to start getting in front of these folks now is that it's a little bit different. They, like I said, really want community they really want to know like and trust the people that they're working with. And that goes with their retail dollars, it goes with their donation dollars, and they will give to causes they feel aligned with. But you need to really make sure you're connecting with them on a personal level and providing value to them. And we want to do this now, because this is going to help you build that longevity of your organization, and help kind of walk them up the, you know, the traditional giving strategy of well, we're gonna wait till they sell their business or until we know they made a lot of money, and then we're gonna start having conversations, I think it's going to continue to work less and less and less with these younger generations, because they're used to kind of this influencer world, where brands are coming at them and offering them tons of money to support and post about that brand. If you want them to do that for your nonprofit and do it for free, they're not going to do that unless they have a strong relationship with you and your organization. So we want to start planting the seeds now with people that are connected to us. And I'm going to give you a few ideas for how to do that. Okay, are you still with me? So the first one is really something that can help you across the board with your entire base doesn't matter who they are. And that is really building yourself as an authority in your space. Now, there's so many different ways to tackle all the problems that you tackle, but you do it in a way that's uniquely yours. And so we want to make sure we're sharing that with people that sharing that sharing the way that you do it, right. So if we're talking about ending childhood hunger, there's so many ways to tackle that. Are you trying to raise funds for local food banks? Are you trying to work on meal programs in schools? Are you reaching out to homeless shelters and trying to provide more nutritional food? Are you working with local farmers to try to get more food in the supply chain, there's so many ways that this particular topic, and any topic can be tackled. So we really want to make sure we're being hyper clear about what it is, and what the problem is that we solve and how we uniquely solve that problem. And one of the best ways to get that out into the world is by collaborating and sharing on other people's platforms, because when you share on their platform, their audience already knows, likes and trusts you. So when I bring guests on my podcast, you already trust them a little bit, because I brought them on. So you're gonna listen to their information a little bit differently than if you just stumbled across their content. You're like, Who's this person? I don't know, if I want to read this is it going to be valuable? So the ways that you can do this are guest podcasting, which I love. So finding podcasts that your ideal audience listens to your ideal donor, or that your Gen Z and Millennial listeners are listening to and be a guest and share exactly what it is that you do how you do it. And while you're amazing, you could start a blog, you can blog, a submit blogs to other people's information, you can be a guest editor at your newspaper, but really just thinking about who are the partners that hit the target donors that you're looking for? And how can I provide content to them to get it out to a bigger audience. The second piece is creating value driven content. So this is a big one. So this isn't necessarily about asking people to donate or join your cause. This is just creating content that is educational, and engaging with people and having fun if it's something that fits in with your brand and your organization. This could look like reels or tick tock does mean you to be out there dancing and doing all the things. But how can you creatively share and showcase what it is that you do? Remember, we want to use visuals. So short form video, and photography is great, especially when it includes people. But how can we create content that is really just shouting from the rooftops the importance of what it is the cause, and again, how you solve the problem. So creating quick things, driving people to your website, driving people to places where they can get more information, but remembering that the purpose of this content is not to make an ask. It's just to engage. And when we do that, and we engage with people that's more likely that other people are going to share what you're putting out there and get it in front of more people. It's also more likely that you can reach out to your existing audience and say, Hey, there's this really cool post that we've been putting out. We'd love for you to share it. It's not spammy and salesy and icky, then they're more likely to share it with their audience because it's just helping to magnify the voice of the cause that they already feel is strong in their minds of something they want to participate in. I love a monthly giving program. And I love having some sort of subscription model. And the reason why I call it a subscription model is because yes, they're donating your organization. But it's a great entry point for people to participate with you and build that community and grow, and it gives you great data points to say, I have been giving to this organization for two years, that's a great trigger for you to have a conversation with them, and say, Hey, Could I could I fill you in a little bit more or deeper about what we do? So what are some of those perks and bonuses that you can do to build creativity? Well, let's say that you are a animal adoption organization, you could have a monthly subscription, that's maybe 2575, however much people want to give you per month. And with that they get a newsletter, every month, or week, or whatever you can do, that gives them tips for how to how to train their pets at home. So then they're getting, you know, resources on an ongoing basis on all the ways that they can help and support their own household with this animal, while giving back to you your organization so that they can continue to support more, maybe it is an opportunity to come in to the shelter, and work with the animals. It could be if you're an environmental organization, that they're getting tips and resources on a regular basis of ways that they can make impact in their home. Maybe they're getting seeds every month, something that's like really providing value and joining. Linking things up with, yes, you're giving to an organization, we're gonna stay top of mind. And here's a way that we're gonna help you continue to do better and support this organization.

This one is my favorite. And this is multi generational events. So we already have a good base of donors that are giving to our organization on a regular basis, whether it's small donations, or large donations. And if we want to continue that legacy, then we want to encourage our donors to invite and include their kids, their grandkids to participate in the organization, if they've given multiple times, they're already really engaged with your organization. So let's let them be the hero and help them to bring their next generation up with them to continue to support this organization. So there's a couple fun ways that you can do this. One that I love is doing a multi generational trivia night. So have a fun night, do it on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when you know that a bar or restaurant partner of yours isn't crazy busy. The only rule is that teams have to be multigenerational, so maybe two, you can't have more than two people from the same generation. And then you have a trivia night you have fun. You can say to your donors, like hey, this is an excuse for you to come and just have a fun night with your family and learn more about the organization. So it's not a stuffy breakfast, or a donor dinner. It's just fun trivia night. Now, let's say your organization, like I said, as an environmental agency. So maybe you're asking questions that are again, multigenerational things we face back in, you know, the 1900s things we face. Now, things we faced in the, you know, 750s, whatever. Make the trivia about a topic that your organization is about, but have fun with it and be multigenerational, don't make an ask. But at least have people come together, have fun network with each other building community and learning more about your organization in the process. Another idea that I had was if you have a physical location, and you have alumni, bringing those alumni together, so maybe if you're the example that I had with a previous client was a university. So let's say your college and a university and you want to, you know, bring in some of your alumni to get them to donate. So you have your donors that are existing, but let's say you have multi generations of alumni within the same families, a lot of us do. We go to the same college, right? It's that legacy. So then you do a scavenger hunt. You bring them in, put them into teams, the only goal is to win the trophy. We love to get competitive about things, right. So they go on the scavenger hunt. And the clues are, again, multigenerational. So you're doing a couple of things here. You're allowing your alumni to have an experience with their family, about, you know, their experience on campus because it was probably very different. You're also allowing them to see the changes. So for your older alumni they're seeing on campus, all of the things that have changed and grown since they were there for your younger alumni. They're getting to see how far it's come based off of what your older alumni is experiencing right how the student union has changed how the classrooms have changed all of the above. So it's just a great way to have fun. And then you can educate the participants through the clues and where they have to go to get the scavenger hunt versus you sitting there and talking with them about how much growth the university has had over time. So these are just a couple ideas and ways that you can have events that are multi generational, that allow your older donors to bring in their family or friends of younger generations to continue to support your organization, which is a much softer sell as well. The other one that is directly correlated to making a gift is naming of things now, I love it, when you can talk to them and say, hey, you know, we are naming this lobby, what do you want to name it, and encouraging them to name it after their younger generations in their family? Because what that does is automatically gets them engaged involved. My dad did this with me, when he fundraised for the auditorium at our old school. He was able to name the facility because of the size of gift that he gave. And he named it after me instead of naming it after himself with family. And I was there for all of the things from the groundbreaking to some of the fundraising committees and whatnot. And I'm still engaged and involved in working on some projects with them to this day, which I may not have stayed engaged had that not happened. So there's so many ways that we can think about naming and again, keeping our donor as the hero, they had the opportunity to say, Hey, I, you know, I know how much you care about this, cause I want to name this after you. Let's tackle this together. So just a few ways to kind of think about how we can pull all the way through from our existing donors and their generations in their family. And then the last one that I want to bring up is asking alumni to share. So the alumni that you have in your organization, let's say you're an after school program, let's say you're a, you have an educational program, let's say you have students or youth that are graduating out of your program that our Gen Z, this is a prime time to stay in touch with them now, because we know like if we're going to go hit up our alumni in 15 years and try to have a conversation with them about now being involved in the organization, but you haven't talked to them in 15 years, they're going to be like me, we're gonna go work with this organization that has been in touch with us over the over the course of time. So really figuring out a way that you can be attention intentional with your alumni, engage with them, stay engaged with them, regardless of their capacity to give and build that relationship. And asking them, hey, this organization has made an impact on your life, we know that how can we continue to share of you share on your social media and stay engaged and build that network slowly over time. Now, you don't need to do this with all your alumni. But you know, the ones that are special and that you think would be great for you to continue to not that they're not all special. But you know, the ones that have more of an ability to show up that are more active on social media that are going to want to stay in touch with you that have a deeper connection to your organization. So stay in touch with those alumni. Now, don't wait until they've blown up or wait until you need them for something stay in touch with them. Now, these are five ways that you can start to build more relationships with the younger generations, and start to slowly build that donor pool and that donor base over time, it won't lead to big donations right away, right. But this is the same strategy as what we want to do. In general, when it comes to our marketing, right? One little pebble in the water is going to make a ripple effect that's going to continue to reach and grow and build more people. But we need to keep dropping those little pebbles so that we can keep causing those ripples so people can keep seeing our brand. And getting excited about the work that we're doing. Know the work that we're doing and want to share it with other people. And Gen Z is going to be a megaphone for you. If you can build that community, connect with them, and support them as they grow.

Okay. You have any questions about this? Please just hit me up. Hello, at the first click that net I'm here for you. I hope that you found this helpful. And if you did find this episode helpful, I would really appreciate it if you would leave us a review on Apple podcasts. It really helps us get in front of more nonprofits who need support in their digital marketing and their online fundraising. You could check out the show notes for this episode and additional resources at https://thefirstclick.net/189  But thank you so so much for listening. We have episodes coming out every Tuesday and we have an exciting refresh coming to you in March. You can watch video versions of these episodes at https://thefirstclick.net/youtube and we'll see you in the next one.


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