Three ways to engage millennial donors

By Kathleen Kelly Janus for Stanford Social Innovation Review |

For many nonprofit organizations, getting young people to support their work seems an insurmountable challenge. Millennials are a mystery to them. As the stereotype goes, what is the use of involving the lazy, unemployed, social media-addicted generation, anyway? Even so, it’s widely understood that millennial engagement is vital to cultivating a pipeline of support for the years to come.

The good news is that engaging millennials does not have to be such mystery. In fact millennial supporters can become an organization’s most avid champions. At Spark, an organization I co-founded, which is now the largest network of millennial donors in the world, we’ve proven that while they may not have as much to give, collectively their impact can be powerful. In nearly 10 years, we have raised more than $1.5 million to support women’s issues, mostly in contributions of less than $100, and probably even more importantly, we have inspired a large group of young people to support gender equality issues who will likely continue to contribute to women’s organizations for decades.

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