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Engaging the next generation: Global nonprofits are reaching younger donors through their children

Let’s face it—every nonprofit wants to reach younger donors. 

The 35-45-year-old segment of Millennials are aging into their giving years making them a coveted group for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes. With their upbringing and life experiences, they are more likely to support global organizations than their older Gen X and Boomer counterparts. In fact, 47% of Millennials said they support global causes for orphans or children, compared to 16% of older Gen Xers and 17% of Boomers. 

Because of this, relief and development organizations are perfectly primed to tap into this younger audience, but not in the way you might expect. 

Connecting to younger donors through their children 

Relief and development organizations are in a great position to naturally connect with younger donors, but with a twist—by tapping into their desire to include their children.  

Through working with our relief and development clients, we’ve noticed a couple of trends: 

  1. Millennials have a desire to do good in the world, and they want to engage their kids and teach them to be better humanitarians.
  2. As a part of your mission, you already support children across the globe—so there’s a natural connection for young parents to give to children from around the world.

So, how can you seamlessly bring younger donors and their children into your fundraising campaigns? We’ve had some recent success with a few of our clients. 

Include families in your campaigns 

There are many ways you can incorporate parents and their children into your campaigns. We recently launched a kids catalog for Save the Children as a part of their existing gift catalog. 

STC Catalog ExampleIn fact, through research done on their catalog, we discovered many of their donors were already using the catalog to engage with their children or grandchildren during the holiday season, so this was the perfect opportunity to test a more targeted effort. This condensed kids catalog was marketed to parents and included games, activities and related products that allowed parents to sit down with their children, learn about Save the Children’s mission and donate as a family. 

Our initial campaign launched in print only, but we are looking to expand our efforts into digital this year. 

UNICEF Canada is giving parents the opportunity to sign up their children or a child in their life to receive monthly postcards from Paddington Bear—a beloved children’s character.  

For a monthly donation, they receive a Welcome package containing a map, a travel journal, a sticker and more, along with monthly packages that allow the parents and their children to follow Paddington’s journey explore different countries with Paddington and learn more about the life of a child who lives there. 

Paddington 01Paddington 02Paddington 03

What is essentially a sustainer ask has been molded into a creative and fun experience for younger donors and their children, giving UNICEF a whole new audience they can tap into and build deep connections with.  

These are just two ways we’re working to reach younger donors, like Millennials, in our relief and development efforts. By connecting to a young parent’s desire to raise kids who care, you can reach a whole new audience who may not have engaged with you otherwise.  


Rapinder Dhinsa

Rapinder is an expert strategist and storyteller, and she helps guide nonprofit organizations with a holistic approach to fundraising. Rapinder has worked with numerous organizations across Canada and the U.S., including Canadian National Institute for the Blind, UNHCR Canada, UNICEF Canada, Save the Children, Food For The Poor and many others.

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