October 21, 2015 \ Emma Freter
Effective Altruism

Fundraising to millennials must be a hot topic. Last week, I attended an event hosted by Solomon McCown & CoThe Changing Face of Philanthropy: The Challenge of Engaging the Next Generation of Donors. Earlier this week, Rachel presented at the annual conference of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and attended a presentation that also focused on the millennial generation.

A point of emphasis in both of our presentations, related to fundraising to millennials, was effective altruism. This is the notion that folks of my generation are interested in supporting causes not only with our hearts, but also with our heads. To quote EffectiveAltruism.org, our “compassion (is) guided by data and reason.” We might have a cause we believe in, but we also want to know how our donation, dollars or volunteer time are making an impact.

1. Give us all the information

Cuddling with multiple devices

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of all our digital devices, we have immediate access to information at all times. We may know in our hearts where our passion lies, but through data and reason, we want to discover how we can improve the world (both globally and locally) and have the most impact.

So statistics are important – reports on research, number of scholarships provided, faculty members who benefit, etc. Give us all the information. Seeing an impact, even the smallest one, keeps us engaged with the cause and encourages us to keep helping.

2. We follow our passions

The main thing about effective altruism is we want to find a cause that we are passionate about, which means that we may not follow our family’s footsteps in charitable giving. Before you start thinking we’re just a pack of rebels, it is not for lack of wanting to help. It is based on an emotional connection we have towards a certain cause, which should encourage non-profits to put more information and content out in the world. There are people searching for a mission-based organization such as yours. If you’re on the Internet, we’ll be able to find you.

3. Tell us your mistakes

This one may be a little scary to think about. Tell us what mistakes and failures your organization has dealt with through the years and how you have overcome them. As a twentysomething myself, I am trying to figure out this adult lifestyle and honestly I have no idea what I am doing. If we see that others have struggled, we can connect with that, it also gives us hope that we are not as lost as we think. Sharing experiences of darker times humanizes the face of your organization, again, it creates a connection.

It comes down to creating an emotional connection, adding in some statistics to show that our heart is in the right place, and then sharing stories of both successes and failures from your organization. We will hear you. We will support you.