Ask Me Anything: Young Donors
Ask Me Anything Question
What methods have proven successful for converting younger ticket buyers into donors?
Timmy Metzner's Answer
I think all arts organizations are currently struggling with this predicament. An important first step is eliminating any organizational or personal bias about the finances or priorities of younger audience members. A study done in 2014 found that Millennials age 25 and older with a college degree made, on average, $50,000 a year. And in a separate study done that year, 84% of Millennials had made a charitable contribution.
The ability and desire to give exist already; the trick is then implementing ways in which young arts attenders feel most comfortable giving. The answer is the same answer to every Millennial-based enigma: create an experience. This demographic participates when there is personal involvement. Proactive, social, and participatory experiences can create a deep sense of loyalty to an organization or a cause for Millennials.
Ensure these patrons are attending regularly, that they are meeting and socializing with their like-minded peers, that attending a performance is a unique experience only your org can provide, and that these young patrons feel positively about the time and money they are already spending with you. Engage in creative models of fundraising (costume walk-a-thons, sponsoring props or set pieces, etc.) at low- to mid-levels of giving that are about more than just writing a check. Finally, be patient, plant the seeds, and trust that your investment in their behaviors will create lifelong donors.
JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.