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Inspiring Generosity - Millennials…They Sure Are Cool – Part 2

It's hot. And I'm cranky. When we had the chance to get air conditioning about ten years ago we (I'm sure it was my spouse and not me) said, "Too expensive. It never gets hot here more than ten days out of the year." Well guess what folks? It now gets hot twenty days a year.

But Millennials are cool. They are a lot younger than me – which automatically has a cool factor in my book. Last month, we looked at "Four Ways to Engage Millennials." Newly minted District Superintendent Karen Hernandez quickly responded:

FYI: The struggle is real! Suddenly I'm in the pew again every Sunday--and in a different town/church every week! I haven't carried a checkbook with me for at least a decade. I also don't carry a lot of cash, so churches who give me a different way to give allow me to be more generous. I'm looking for online giving opportunities every Sunday morning as I sit in the pew and the plate comes my way! I'm not a Millennial, but I'd readily text-to-give at church, as I've done for other organizations/non-profits in recent years. 

Note to "Matures" and "Boomers": Millennials may not be giving in ways that are comfortable to you. What are you going to do about that?

Dunham Company recently produced a quick video with jaunty music,"Millennial Donors: They Aren't Who You Think They Are" (thanks toUMC Stewardship for posting this on their Facebook page). Here are a few takeaways:

  • 51% of Millennial donors gave through a charity's website.
  • 36% were motivated to give because of a charity's website (11% of Matures responded likewise).
  • 51% responded to a direct mail appeal with an on-line gift.
  • 95% of Millennial donors have a smartphone (Matures by contrast, 34%).
  • 37% of Millennial donors used their smartphone or tablet to give on line.

The #1 place that Millennials are donating? Their place of worship. #2? Faith-based non-profits. (Boomers #1 choice? Social services.)

Back to the question: What are you going to do about Millennial giving?

  • Your website must have an active and obvious "Give Now" button. It's the primary way Millennials prefer to give.
  • Rightly or wrongly, your website needs to be updated and attractive. It's the new Yellow Pages and can give you instant credibility with Millennials.

It's critical that congregations provide all their people with opportunities to give that are meaningful to each individual generation. Millennials are just starting to get in the habit of giving to organizations that they feel passionately about. Let them give in the way that they want. It may take you out of your comfort zone but the payoff will be validating to a whole new generation of givers. Yes, you too can be cool.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann, consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing, Oregon-Idaho AC

United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about the generosity of United Methodists click here.

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