How to engage X and Y

Now we know “who” the different generational philanthropist are as well as their characters and traits. So, how do we engage Gen X and Yers?

I’ve identified a few entry points:
• Host mixer networking events
• Engage Gen X and Yers as committee and board members
• Engage the whole family (grandparents, parents, children)
• Connect via social networking and web presence
• Engage in athletic fundraising events
• Utilize peer pressure by having Gen X and Yers solicit their peers
• Host events with an educational component
• Offer “value-add” ticket prices or donation perks
• Offer volunteer opportunities
• Build partnerships with other nonprofit organizations (possibly with different generational donors) to co-host events
• Engage young donors early
• Engage the whole family (grandparents, parents, children)

It seems like one of the most popular entry points with the Gen X and Y donors is to engage them through mixer events. These shindigs are normally hosted during the week after work and provide an opportunity for attendees to network with one another, engage with the charity and of course, have fun. I asked Carlee Gerardi, owner of Green with Envy Events about how to engage Gen X and Yers through events. Her response:

I think that with events today, (Gen X and Yers) are looking for more than just a standard event — they want an experience. The successful charity events that I’ve attended have been ones that offer a genuine and engaging experience. I think it’s important to create opportunities at your event that will really tug on your attendees’ heartstrings, whether it’s a presentation or an opportunity to interact with the people, animals or things that benefit from the charity’s services. This creates an emotional connection to the charity that will result in donations.

Also, I think nonprofits need to tap into today’s culture of fashion and music by having a popular musician at an event or hosting a fashion show. I always think of the GAP Red campaign, with all the t-shirts that said “Inspi(red)”.

That was a huge success because people could wear something that made a statement and showed what they believe in. Using that same idea, your charity can host a fashion show that exhibits the top 20 winners who designed a t-shirt with the logo or slogan for the charity. Ask local and national celebrities to serve as guest judges. An event like this will not only increase attendance of Gen X and Yers, it will make the event much more interesting and fun.

Good luck with engaging Gen X and Yers!

Tomorrow, I am excited to post my interview with Adam Svet, a Gen X philanthropist and one of my fellow panelist at the upcoming AFP San Diego Chapter Luncheon.

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