Recently, Philanthropy.com published a survey of millennials who were asked to respond to different nonprofit websites. The headline of the results, published on July 18, 2013, caught my eye. It reads, “75% of Young Donors Turned Off By Out-of-Date Web Sites.” The survey involved 2,600 people born between the years 1979-1994. More than simply reporting what the survey respondents said, Philanthropy.com actually asked 100 participants to react to nonprofit websites on video (scrolling all the way down the page linked above will show you the video).
What you will find in exploring the study and the video is that millennials are looking for websites that are easy to use on smart phones or other mobile devices. That means they should be:
- — Easy to navigate
- — Informative but not too copy-heavy
- — Motivational/inspirational
- — Regularly updated
As you watch the video of millennials reacting to nonprofits, it’s not hard to imagine that young people who find your website frustrating or difficult to navigate will “bounce” quickly.
In addition to the research about how millennials respond to nonprofit websites, the survey also reveals other important information your organization should consider. For example:
“More than 65 percent of young donors receive e-mail or newsletters from as many as five organizations, and 49 percent said they follow up to five organizations on social networks.”
“Almost five in 10 volunteers said they were frustrated that they were asked to attend long training sessions when they thought their time could have been better used by learning procedures online, and spending more of their time doing meaningful work to advance the nonprofit’s mission.”
Obviously, there are a few key messages your organization will need to take away from these results.
- — Millennials are likely to learn about you via social channels. That means you should be present online, and you should make sure the messaging on your website is consistent with your social media messaging
- — Your website should be updated frequently. Give your community reasons to visit your site
- — Show results. This will inspire millennials to donate
- — Have an e-newsletter, and make sure it is a 2-way conversation. Ask your community what they want to see, and what they want to learn about when they visit your website
If you are worried you might be losing people because of your website or because of other parts of your online presence, be sure to give this study and the associated videos a look, and talk it over as an organization. I think you’ll find it will get the ideas flowing just in time for the holiday season!