How Digital Marketing Can Help Reach Younger Donors

Is your nonprofit actively seeking to reach younger donors? While some organizations tend to focus on older and/or long-time supporters, the best time to start engaging with younger donors is now. After all, millennials and Generation Z now make up the largest combined segment of the population in the U.S. Potential support from the next generation is out there.

In today’s technology-centric world, it’s no secret that one of the best ways to reach younger donors is through an online presence or platform. Digital marketing strategies can be very effective for nonprofits who want to further their mission by reaching a newer, younger audience. Read on to learn how to attract younger donors and increase support for your cause.

Understanding Younger Donors

When it comes to younger donors, a common misconception is that they aren’t as willing to contribute money toward a cause compared to older generations. However, 84% of millennials actually give to charity, and 59% of Generation Z’ers are likely to donate to a charity after seeing a message on social media. Like their passion for activism, younger audiences are also passionate about giving.

Since younger donors are more likely to spend time online, it’s important to begin any digital marketing strategy by optimizing your messaging. Make sure your nonprofit’s website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. Provide regular updates to help build trust and credibility. And, of course, ensure that your online giving process is easy to complete. These steps will serve as a foundation for successful digital marketing efforts.

Digital Marketing Ideas to Help Reach Younger Donors

You know that younger people spend a lot of time online, and you know that a digital presence is important for your mission. But how can you start bridging the gap and actually reach the next generation? A comprehensive digital marketing strategy will help you get there. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Paid Social Media Ads

Social media is a powerful marketing tool—especially when it comes to reaching younger donors. Using paid social media ads can help your nonprofit target these potential donors. With different options like video or slideshow posts, social media ads on platforms like Instagram and Facebook are a great way to catch users’ attention.

When using this strategy, it’s important to understand how to do it properly. Make sure to include a compelling call-to-action and a link back to your nonprofit’s website. Even with all the right measures in place, however, it’s also important to note that advertising on social media isn’t always the best stand-alone strategy. Consider following up with a retargeting ad campaign or other technique.

Retargeting Ad Campaigns

Retargeting is an effective way to remind audiences of the importance of your cause. A retargeting campaign can show ads to online users who recently visited your website. These ads can serve as reminders to finish completing a donation, register for an event, and more. With 70% more effectiveness than standard display advertisements, retargeting ad campaigns can help your nonprofit reach younger audiences online.

Influencer Marketing

The popularity of social media has led to the rise of influencer marketing. This strategy involves endorsements from high-profile users to help promote a product or service. Nonprofits can take advantage of influencer marketing to spread the word about their cause and reach younger donors via social media. These kinds of referrals tend to be appealing to younger audiences who seek out information online.

Case Study: How PCRF Worked With Feathr to Reach Younger Donors

Many nonprofits have implemented successful digital marketing campaigns to reach younger donors. The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) is a prime example. With a mission to fund research for curing childhood cancer, PCRF wanted to ensure they were reaching the most supporters possible—especially younger donors.

PCRF ad example

However, PCRF’s traditional fundraising strategy included hosting large events. They realized that younger audiences were less likely to attend events and were instead more likely to donate online. Thus, PCRF had to increase their digital presence, and they turned to Feathr to help do so.

Feathr is a unified digital marketing platform that provides solutions for associations, nonprofits and event organizers. With Feathr, organizations can increase awareness, boost donations, and more. Since PCRF didn’t have the team capacity to run a new marketing campaign, the Feathr team was able to help.

PCRF’s Digital Marketing Campaign

PCRF worked with Feathr to create a year-end fundraising strategy across multiple digital marketing channels. The campaign included email, display advertising, and paid social ads on Facebook and Instagram. Centered on a message of hope, the campaign aimed to use creative storytelling and a compelling call to donate.

PCRF sidebar ad on a webpage

A Marketing Challenge

Due to the sensitive nature of PCRF’s work, the challenge going into the campaign was to not be exploitative. “Marketing for childhood cancer research is complex,” said Talia Pate, campaign strategist at Feathr. “When featuring clients, you need to be respectful of the children and their families while communicating the need to donate to cancer research in a way that appeals to the audience and doesn’t scare them.”

To balance that, PCRF and Feathr worked together to craft a campaign that centered on a message of hope. The strategy involved briefly introducing their audience to one of the children with cancer via emails along with ads that led to a landing page with the child’s full story. Since the average email open rate is typically around 20 percent, the ads served as reminders for those who opened the emails. In addition, the ads also provided an alternative way to reach those who did not originally open the emails.

The Campaign Results

Overall, PCRF’s digital marketing campaign with Feathr helped them reach younger donors from a new audience. The total ad spend for the campaign was $845, and by the end, the foundation raised $9,000. Within just one month of that campaign, PCRF had gained 140,862 impressions and reached 76,322 unique individuals.

From those individuals reached, there were over 2,000 ad clicks with an average click-through rate of 1.5 percent. Considering the industry click-through rate average for display ads is between 0.2 to 0.3 percent, this amazing result underscores the impact of PCRF’s campaign. Not only did the foundation reach a newer audience, but they also inspired the newer audience to take action.

Final Thoughts on Digital Marketing to Reach Younger Donors

Hopefully the thought of engaging with younger donors seems less intimidating. Overall, digital marketing strategies can be a very effective way to start earning support from younger generations for years to come. If you want to start reaching them and boosting your organization’s fundraising and marketing efforts, check out Feathr’s solutions for nonprofits. A nonprofit specialist can give you a demo and help explore your specific needs. Here’s to gaining more support from new audiences and furthering your mission!


*This spotlighted blog post is courtesy of Feathr
Young people smiling at computer

Kayleigh Fongers

Kayleigh Fongers is the partner communications coordinator for Nonprofit Hub & Do More Good. She graduated from Calvin College (now Calvin University) with a BA in Writing. She has a background in journalism and a heart for nonprofit work.

March 10, 2022

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