DC Influencer: Allyson Burns, Case Foundation

Allyson Burns, SVP, marketing and comms, the Case Foundation, talks about how Millennials are leveraging social media to promote good causes.

Describe your research that explored how Millennials were changing the nature of giving and volunteering.
Not only are Millennials 80 million strong but, within the next 10 years, they will also make up more than 50% of the worldwide workforce.

This was our third year partnering with Achieve on the Millennial Impact Report, which was released this summer and was taken by 2,500 Millennials.

There's a perception that this group doesn't have the resources to do as much for social good. Is that true?

Younger generations tend to give less, yet Millennials have found ways to have an impact that goes beyond big dollars.

Fifty-two percent of respondents are interested in repeated giving on a monthly basis. Nonprofits have an important opportunity to experiment with soliciting smaller dollar amounts, but more regular gifts. In addition, Millennials are volunteering for causes they care about - 74% report volunteering in 2012.

Millennials show significant interest in using social networks in new and creative ways to promote a cause, incite action, or to ask for smaller dollars for causes they care about.

About 80% read nonprofit emails and newsletters on smartphones and 75% liked, retweeted, or shared content on social media.

How can PR encourage this demographic?
Millennials prefer to connect via technology, so PR efforts should leverage online and social platforms. Websites provide a means for information gathering, finding volunteer opportunities, and donating online, while social media allows for connecting.

When creating communications plans targeting Millennials, organizations should think mobile first and focus on responsive design, as well as content to demonstrate how supporters can get involved and what kind of impact their support will help achieve.

Organizations will know their message is resonating when Millennials are compelled to share their content.

How will the foundation motivate Millennials?
We will encourage them to make a difference online through smaller donations and engage them through the #GivingTuesday campaign.

It was developed by 92Y and the UN Foundation to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season, which is taking place on December 3 this year.

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