As a younger professional, it is worthwhile to keep up on the latest and greatest ideas in the ever-evolving world of museums. There are a number of great, free resources online that we here at Philly EMP use ourselves and would like to share with you. One such resource is Colleen Dilenschneider’s blog Know Your Own Bone.
In January, we shared an article from Know Your Own Bone on how to engage millenials. Recently, Dilenschneider focused on approaching millenials as donors. In 6 Sad Truths About Fundraising That I Have Learned as a Millenial Donor, Dilenschneider highlights a big problem cultural institutions are creating for themselves: the disregarding of the 20-35 demographic as valuable to their institution. Working with an aging board at a small nonprofit, I saw firsthand the way a cultural institution dismisses the value of a younger audience. Whereas I was trying to cultivate long-term donors by engaging younger professionals, the board was focusing on wealthy senior citizens in the hopes of being thought of for planned giving.
As many of you likely fall into the 20-35 age range, this article should be of great interest to you. Have you been specifically solicited for a donation? Are there cultural institutions trying to build a relationship with you? What have your experiences been with the institutions to whom you’ve already donated?
First, let’s be honest: I’m not a crazy-huge donor that is going to make-or-break your nonprofit operations (yet…). That said, I’ve made a personal decision to prioritize charitable giving as I’ve grown in my career. We are a little over four months into 2013 and I’ve already made a few five-figure gifts this year, as well as several four-figure and three-figure gifts. They don’t quite yet add up to six figures annually but, someday soon, I’d like to reliably give that much on an annual basis. (Hey, I’m a millennial – realistic or not, I’m optimistic about my financial future. And, no, not a single penny of that came from my parents (who data suggest aren’t as long-term financially supportive as we millennials may think they are). Like my peers, I am public-service motivated and I care about making a difference.
I learned an awful lot about nonprofit solvency through the pursuit of my Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management degree, but one thing’s for sure: I’ve learned a LOT more about fundraising as a donor than I ever could have dreamed of learning while studying fundraising.