What online programs actually are attracting millennials?

Have you seen a website simply change their homepage to have a rotating slideshow to make their site more visual?
Or, maybe, they just decided to start putting YouTube videos directly on their site.
What about nonprofits who start asking you about your favorite TV shows to watch on Thursdays?

These are all pretty decent ideas.  They are all on the right track to being more human, relational, and easier to engage.  But in the end, is this what sets you apart?


Being able to balance visual, interactivity, and mission is the key to creating a good online program to attract your next generation of supporters.  Some nonprofits have gotten it – charity: water or the Case Foundation – they make it quick and easy to find out what they do, and then they make it even easier to connect with them and find out more.
(Another great thing about these two organizations is that you will hear from their leaders at MCON12!)

But here is an EXCELLENT example – a featured case study in The Millennial Impact Report

You can read the case study online here.

A basic overview of what Building Tomorrow does:
They have a feature on their website called CalculateIt. You can go in and calculate how much your 1st – 7th grade education cost.  A quick and easy way for anyone to learn about what the organization does as well as letting them see the cost difference between your own education and an education in Uganda.

But, I have asked this question many times and have still wondered what a great website for attracting millennials includes.  I have had a series of answers from all visual to all video and beyond.

By commenting below, you will be entered to win a FREE REGISTRATION to MCON12!
(A $125 value, for free).

What do you think makes a great website?
What are some examples of websites that have these features?
Comment below!

Trying to Be a Leader? Here’s Why You Need to Slow Down!

So a couple of weeks ago, well exactly 2 weeks ago, I posted about why EVERY millennial should be an OKC Thunder fan.  You still should be, they are down 3-1 in the series but you never know.

But to the subject of the blog.

Don’t be a liter.  Be a LEADER.

No, I’m not talking about 2 liters.  I’m talking about being a leader.  So many of us want to be a leader.  We want to be leaders for different reasons – leaders make more money, leaders get all the credit, leaders are in control and get to do things their way.  Heck, even followers want to be leading the pack as being the BEST follower.

It is great to strive to be a leader, even if it is just leading the pack and being the best at what you do.  But sometimes we get caught with striving to be a leader, that we don’t recognize the time when being a follower is the best way to be a leader.

Willie, what are you talking about? How can being a follower mean being the best leader.

Sloooowing down!

The fast-paced world, the never-stopping-social media-mobile notification-always emailing world of being a leader can often prevent leaders from being able to take a look around.  One of the misconceptions of being a leader is that you must always be looking forward and to the future.

I have fallen into this a few times.  Always thinking about what the next advocacy campaign will look like, planning on what the next Facebook contest will be, and scheduling tweets with unique hashtags for next week.

Why not take a look around to see if there is a better way to go about doing things?

Following what someone else is doing may be better for you than trying to force your way ahead and keep doing the same thing over and over again with the same results.

I would love to hear what you think about this.
What do YOU do when you feel like you keep running into the same wall?
Have you ever had a leader you know just continue to push and never take a breath?
Comment below! Or tweet me – @Willie_Matis


How do you show you are qualified without falsely claiming to be an expert?

It’s something that is a challenge for everyone in social media.  It is something that is especially hard for millennials whether or not you ARE on social media.

All I need is a chance!

That is the feeling that flows through when you feel like you are qualified for specific responsibilities, but your resume/past/portfolio is slim because you just haven’t been in the game for a while.

So! How can you show you are qualified??

(without making it seem like you are a know-it-all, a stuck up millennial, or lying)

  • Volunteer for committees & boards – organizations are constantly looking for people to complete projects.. for free.. let that be your chance to show what you are made of.
  • Create your own projects – especially with the social media world.  Start your own Facebook page and run contests of your own.  Engage people to use a certain hashtag.  Or do your own reporting of events in the community.
  • Express it in your cover letter – are you applying for a new job? Express that all you need is a chance.  If you can portray that when you had the chance to add value to your past organizations and companies you took that chance and succeeded (or learned from your failures), then the HR person won’t think you are lying.  They will be thinking that you are willing to try and better yourself.

I’m curious what you all think, too.

How have you been able to show that you are qualified for jobs that might be asking for just a liiiiittle more years of experience than you really have??

Comment below. Or yell at me on Twitter – @Willie_Matis

What programs have been effective for engaging Millennials?

That is the magic question.  But, luckily, the great people at Achieve recently released the Millennial Impact Report.  A project that surveyed many millennials, included focus groups, and a series of interviews with nonprofits.

So what is the answer to the question?

63% of millennials volunteered last year!  Those in the 37% who didn’t?? Maybe it was because they were never ASKED or they don’t have enough time!

Are you a millennial? What programs have you volunteered for AND LIKED??

Do you work at a nonprofit? What programs have you seen engage millennials the best??

Comment below & be entered to win a ticket to MCON12!  An all online conference talking about millennial donor engagement!  It’s a $125 value…. for freeee!

Why every millennial should be cheering for the Oklahoma City Thunder

They were down 2-0 in a best of 7 series.  They were down 63-48 at the end of the first half of last night’s game.

I bet a lot of millennials feel like they are down 2-0 in the series of their career.
– Spending most of their adult life in school
– Working hard
– Getting good enough grades to go onto college and eventually higher education
– And then after finishing, they can’t even find a job that fits.

I’m not saying that this wasn’t seen by generations before ours, but right now millennials are probably feeling a lot like the OKC Thunder were after going down  2-0 early in the series (to a bunch of old guys I might add).  The Thunder only have ONE PERSON on their roster that was born before 1977.  Their three stars – Kevin Durant is 23; Russell Westbrook is 23; and James Harden is 22.

After making it to the 2011 Western Conference playoffs and losing, they heard – “They are too young, but their time will come.”

But this year, they fought against that.  Deciding that their time is now.

Millennials, if you aren’t from OKC, you should still be fans of the way the Thunder play.  Young, fewer years of experience, but playing with an extreme amount of knowledge and determination to prove that they are just as tough as the “generation that came before”.

Your Time is Now

It is up to you to know what shot you want to take.  You may not know if it is going to go in or not, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take (thanks Wayne Gretzky).

Kevin Durant was quoted, saying “I understand it’s a process.  We had to wait our turn.”

But, they all could’ve turned that “process” into an excuse.  It is easy to get stuck into the day-to-day grind, and it is easy to tell yourself – “One day I’ll get my shot.”

Why not now?

You may be down 2-0.  You might be on the brink of winning the series and just need a big 3rd quarter.  So why not play like Kevin Durant, telling your boss not to take you out for one second, and take the shot like you KNOW you will make it.

The Thunder haven’t won the entire thing yet, but they sure as heck are playing like champions.

And you can still get excited about pizza rolls…

A Fast and FREE Way to Holding an Online Petition Drive

I was lucky enough to be featured as a guest blogger, again, yesterday on the Campaign for America’s Health Centers blog site – saveourchcs.org.  The post talked about holding a petition drive to show support for community health centers and Medicaid funding for my organization, HealthNet, and using the petition drive to leverage legislator visits.

One thing that I wasn’t able to touch on, however, was the way in which I was able to collect petition signatures online.  I haven’t talked much about online tools for advocacy except for how Twitter may be the best one, but lately, I have become a HUGE FAN of Shortstack for Facebook apps.

I could go into all of the ins and outs of Shortstack, but just like anything else in social media JUST DO IT.  By experimenting, you’ll find out what works and what doesn’t.  Plus, even with the free version, you get access to all of the widgets.

Petition Drive… online

For our petition, I used the ‘Side by Side’ Template.  I wanted to include images that drew people in to learn more, as well as show out Twitter stream to let people engage with us in other spheres if they’d like to.

You can’t see all of the petition, but this is what the page looked like on Facebook.

There are plenty of free tools out there to let you build Facebook apps, but I suggest using Shortstack!  The widgets are very self-explanatory, and you are able to build your own pages from a blank template.

The one downside with the free version? You can not collect data from your contact forms straight into an Excel file.  When people who signed the online petition clicked SUBMIT, I received an email with the information that they provided and had to manually enter all of the data.

What tools do you use to advocate online?
What suggestions do you have for someone using Shorstack Free?
I would love to chat with you about it!
Comment below or tweet me!