WJC 16th Plenary Assembly: “How to get the next generation to contribute to Jewish causes?” - World Jewish Congress

WJC 16th Plenary Assembly: “How to get the next generation to contribute to Jewish causes?”

Hi! I am Aviva La Torre Ek and I am a member of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps. I originally come from Cape Town, South Africa but now I am based in Stockholm.

So, this might sound crazy, but did you know that the human attention span is even less than that of a goldfish? 

8 seconds.

8 seconds is all you get to catch the attention of young donors. 

Consider this to be your primary golden rule in today’s technologically focused and fast paced generation. And without it, all the other strategies we are going to look at today won’t be successful.  Our young Jewish population- or donors- is diversifying and moving at a rapid pace in their lives, so our fundraising strategies need to keep up with them too. 

But how?

Well, we need to understand what motivates them to care. 

This generation donates specifically when they can identify themselves in the cause. I donate because I am passionate about this cause, I know someone it affects, or I know my donation is going to make a difference here. Any one or all of these reasons will spur a young adult on to give.  

In other words, one of the keys is to tap into their passions. Young donors do not give out of responsibility but invest out of inspiration. They are drawn to specific causes rather than organisations and want to make a concrete impact where possible: They put their money where their values are.

Speaking of money, young adults today are faced with higher financial demands than before, and so many do not currently have the annual giving power that previous generations have had.  And this presents us with fundraising challenges. One of the most important question is:

Do they have less to give or are we just using the wrong methods to engage them? 

Alright! Let’s get practical. The reality is that there are hundreds of questions and strategies one can apply, but there are certain things we cannot ignore. Let’s look at these six top strategies for young donor engagement:

1.    Meet them where they are: on social media. 

They want to engage and be engaged with, so make sure to reach out to them through the platforms where they are currently at. And mobile friendly content is a must for successful engagement, as this is where most young adults spend the majority of their time. 

2.    The goldfish rule: 

 Short and concise content is your key to getting your messages across and helping them to stick. But make sure to always go straight to the point. Remember that 8 second rule. 

3.    Embrace diversity. 

We need to recognise and respond to the traditional and non-traditional ways young adults identify with their Jewishness. By doing so, we can tailor our engagement strategies and campaigns to their interests, which may be cultural, religious, scientific or political. Personalisation is key. 

4.    Be genuine and transparent:

A young adult today wants to know how their money is being spent, because of their personal vested interest. Do not try to sell your cause, just tell it like it is. This way they will want to be part of it, and that authenticity is one of the factors that will make them choose you over someone else.

5.    The art of appreciation: 

Every donor, whether they are donating 1 or 1 million dollars, should be treated as a major donor would. With the competition for donors increasing, if we want these young Jewish adults to give their money to Jewish causes, we need to focus on donor loyalty and their value. 

6.    Smaller and recurring donations: 

Studies suggest that young adults tend to prefer to give in smaller and recurring amounts, rather than bigger and fewer donations. And there is such value in this because you are increasing your donor pool substantially. 

Using all or even some of these strategies will help you to increase the likelihood of a more successful campaign. You will be able to fundraise more strategically and attract the younger donors you need to, which will definitely have a positive impact on future Jewish philanthropy.

Thank you.

The WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps is the flagship program of the World Jewish Congress, under the vision and leadership of WJC President Ronald S. Lauder. This program empowers the new generations of outstanding Jewish leaders.

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