Want to get male millennials on board with your cause? Focus on feelings

December 02, 2014

Montreal, December 2, 2014 -- "Selfish" may be the adjective most often attached to millennials. But new research from Concordia University shows that the young men and women who make up the millennial generation aren't so self-centred when it comes to supporting charities -- as long as marketers use the right tactics for each gender.

The forthcoming study in The Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing confirms stereotypes and reveals an important paradox. When asked to support charitable causes, millennials -- those born between 1980 and 2000 -- respond best to social media campaigns emphasizing how others benefit rather than how they benefit themselves. While the innate empathy of women spurs them to action, men need to be approached with an emotional appeal.

"Facebook is the most important tool for engaging millennials in charitable causes because it lets them get involved, find out more and spread the word," says the study's senior author Michèle Paulin, professor of marketing at Concordia's John Molson School of Business. "Because participation in social media is by nature an emotional experience, non-profits that want to engage millennials need to focus on the feelings of their potential young donors."

In campaigns targeted at both millennial women and men, marketers must focus on how others will benefit from their donations -- be it money, time or other support. However, they need to keep two key factors in mind:

  1. Female millennials tend to automatically engage with a cause on an emotional level;

  2. Male millennials need specific emotional prods appealing to their empathetic concern for the cause and the underlying moral value of how their supportive actions will benefit others.

"Our findings can help charitable organizations and their corporate partners take the right approach to garner millennials' support for social causes," says professor Paulin, who had more than 500 students interact with two charitable appeals on Facebook for the study. "To be successful, charities using social media have to take into account the gender of their audience, as well as the type of event."

Above all, she cautions, it's important for non-profit marketers to view millennials as individuals rather than as a homogenous generation.

The future success of non-profits lies in sustaining the involvement of millennials through their engagement in social network sites. However, they aren't necessarily loyal to a single cause or organization. Rather, they act as free agents to organize, mobilize, raise funds and communicate with their peers.
Partners in Research

For the study, Michèle Paulin, who holds the Royal Bank of Canada Professorship in Strategic Relationship Management, worked with a research team that included Ronald Ferguson and Kaspar Schattke in the Department of Management; Nina Jost, RWTH Aachen University, Germany; and JMSB MSc students Jennifer Gutberg and Aela Salman.

Related Links John Molson School of Business http://www.concordia.ca/jmsb.html

Michèle Paulin on Explore Concordia http://explore.concordia.ca/michele-paulin

The Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketinghttp://www.tandfonline.com/toc/wnon20/current#.VHiib2TF-QM

Concordia University

Related Social Media Articles from Brightsurf:

it's not if, but how people use social media that impacts their well-being
New research from UBC Okanagan indicates what's most important for overall happiness is how a person uses social media.

Social media postings linked to hate crimes
A new paper in the Journal of the European Economic Association, published by Oxford University Press, explores the connection between social media and hate crimes.

How Steak-umm became a social media phenomenon during the pandemic
A new study outlines how a brand of frozen meat products took social media by storm - and what other brands can learn from the phenomenon.

COVID-19: Social media users more likely to believe false information
A new study led by researchers at McGill University finds that people who get their news from social media are more likely to have misperceptions about COVID-19.

Stemming the spread of misinformation on social media
New research reported in the journal Psychological Science finds that priming people to think about accuracy could make them more discerning in what they subsequently share on social media.

Looking for better customer engagement value? Be more strategic on social media
According to a new study from the University of Vaasa and University of Cyprus, the mere use of social media alone does not generate customer value, but rather, the connections and interactions between the firm and its customers -- as well as among customers themselves -- can be used strategically for resource transformation and exchanges between the interacting parties.

Exploring the use of 'stretchable' words in social media
An investigation of Twitter messages reveals new insights and tools for studying how people use stretched words, such as 'duuuuude,' 'heyyyyy,' or 'noooooooo.' Tyler Gray and colleagues at the University of Vermont in Burlington present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on May 27, 2020.

How social media platforms can contribute to dehumanizing people
A recent analysis of discourse on Facebook highlights how social media can be used to dehumanize entire groups of people.

Social media influencers could encourage adolescents to follow social distancing guidelines
Public health bodies should consider incentivizing social media influencers to encourage adolescents to follow social distancing guidelines, say researchers.

Social grooming factors influencing social media civility on COVID-19
A new study analyzing tweets about COVID-19 found that users with larger social networks tend to use fewer uncivil remarks when they have more positive responses from others.

Read More: Social Media News and Social Media Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.