Society and technology is evolving faster than many nonprofits can adapt. We have to come to grips with the fact that constituent landscapes are not only changing, they are evolving beyond our grasp. You and your leadership team are not dealing with constituents you know and recognize. You are in fact talking to strangers.
This means that we all need to spend a lot of time understanding what is important to this evolving group of constituents. Why would they want to engage with our mission? How do they make decisions? Without that level of empathy, we can’t create meaningful experiences for this emerging and important constituent. This group is critical to your future volunteers, advocates and donors. This would be the time to start designing experiences based on their interest and behavior.
Here is some information that may be helpful in looking at these strangers known as Gen Y:
- Seventy-three percent have earned and used virtual currency.
- Gen Y will form about 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 and are already actively shaping corporate culture and expectations. Only 11 percent define having a lot of money as a definition of success.
- Sixty-six percent will look up a store if they see a friend check in.
- Start-ups dominate the work force for Gen Y’ers. Only 7 percent work for a Fortune 500 company. They expect large organizations to hear their voice and recognize their contributions. They need an “intrapreneurial” culture.
- They are three times as likely to follow a brand over family members in social networks.
- Millennials watch TV with two or more electronic devices.
- Millennials trust strangers over friends and family when it comes time for purchase decisions. They value user-generated experiences heavily.
- Twenty-nine percent find love through Facebook while 33 percent are dumped via TXT or Wall posts. (I’m not making this up)
- Gen Y’ers believe that other consumers care more about their opinions than companies do. That is why they share their opinions online.
- Most people on Facebook have about 240 friends. Gen Y’ers maintain about 696 friends.
We need to bridge the gap from being strangers to becoming partners.