By: Aine McGlynn
Congratulations to Derrick Feldman and the Achieve Team for a great MCON14. MCON, now in its fourth year, is billed as a two day conference on building a culture for the future of cause work. Some 300 people were in attendance and more than 15,000 tuned in for the live-stream. For the brands, non-profits and futurists in the room the rallying question was “How do we engage Millennial donors, volunteers, employees, consumers”. The answer, and this is supported by Achieve’s new research, depends on our ability to build principles of collaborative, social changemaking into the DNA of everything we do.
So many of the speakers came back to this point over and over and it was inspiring to hear how some of them had achieved success while also doing good; Kohl Crecelius company Krochet Kids employs women in Uganda and Peru to make unique hand-crochet garments pairs hipster fashion with cottage industry; Mike McGee’s Starter League teaches people how to code in just three months so that they can start to materialize their ideas.
The skill set to create campaigns with the kind of sophisticated functionality that were on display at MCON14 is scarce. One small example: Of the 150+ website audits that we have conducted over the last 12 months, close to 80% are not mobile-ready. In the context of what we know about Millennial engagement being driven by mobile use - this is a big shortcoming. This is not to say that every non-profit needs to invest in a custom web ap, or mobile version of their site -rather they need to choose web editors with responsive design principles already built in. It is precisely this kind of organizations mindset - that makes time and space for thinking through digital strategies - that is often hard to come by. Of course this is a symptom of too much program related work to accomplish and not enough time to spend thinking through how well you are sharing information and in turn, calling people to action.
Nonprofits have done a great job of embracing social media to tell their stories and drive potential donors and volunteer to their sites. But once they get there, what is their experience? How easy is it to complete a donation, sign up for a specific volunteer role, understand how they will make a difference if they commit their time and money to this org? As so many of the speakers noted, giving people the ability to take a specific action is what motivates them to come back to your cause. What actions, besides donating or signing up for a mailing list, can your stakeholders take on your site? How are you participating them in your work?