Alumni Fundraising – 4 Strategies to Reach Millennial Alumni

Posted by Jill Belknap on 6/11/19 6:30 AM

The Millennial generation gets a bad rap. Often we hear about the excesses and entitlement, but such broad generalizations have never been truly helpful. In fact, there are few generations that have been so generous as our Millennials. They are often the first to respond financially to natural disasters or crises. While their methods of giving may be non-traditional, it’s very effective.

These four strategies can turn your youngest alumni into your most passionate long-term financial supporters:

Develop a relationship with your former students.

Millennials give to what they feel connected to, so start finding ways for them to connect to your school early on. Set yourself up as a partner with and a resource to them, not just an institution that only asks for money. Certainly, some ways to do this are reunion events and social media communications, but also consider providing a community portal where former students can connect with favorite teachers and other alumni. You can also add value by sending out resources on professional development and personally invite them to school events and activities – especially if they have a networking component.

Be specific and personal in your fundraising goals.

This generation wants to make a difference in their world and feel compelled to be a part of a worthy cause or initiatives. Instead of general fundraisers for the school, raise money for a specific purpose or goal. For example, providing scholarships or financial assistance. Possibly even consider allowing them to allocate where their donation will go, choosing a department or project that is close to their heart. Having a say in where their dollars specifically go might be all that’s needed to convince them to give those dollars.


Hipster friends using their phones on a summers day


Get your young alumni involved in your fundraiser.

Engaging these former students in peer to peer fundraising will not only more deeply connect their heart with their alma mater, but also widen your donor base. There’s no better way to quickly get your word out than social media… and no more intuitive social media marketers than your digital natives.

Use digital fundraising tools.

Millennials don’t want phone calls or to fill out lots of information and they definitely don’t want to feel marketed to. Instead, use technology to engage in meaningful conversation with prospective donors and fundraisers, capitalizing on texting campaigns or personal fundraising websites that make it quick and easy for people to fundraise and give.

Don’t listen to all the negative press about Millennials. They are socially engaged, technically savvy and willing to invest in the causes and institutions they love. It’s up to you to engage this motivated audience with a compelling purpose that turns your youngest alumni into the next generation of faithful supporters.

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Topics: donors, fundraising