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Millennials Course Week 3 Guest Speaker: Dominique Calixte, MS

The Engaging Millennials To Raise Big Money is an 8-week course where you get tools and tips to help you prospect, engage, solicit, and steward Millennial donors thoughtfully and effectively. Millennials are said to be the most socially conscious generation in history and they most definitely are the largest workforce today. Research shows that from Mega Givers to everyday donors, Millennials are active donors and ambassadors to causes they love. To learn more about the importance of getting Millennials on board, read Millennials Are Changing Fundraising; Is Your Organization Ready?

Engaging Millennials Week 3 focused on inspiring millennials to take action. We covered how to get this generation engaged in supporting development needs, from hosting independent fundraisers, virtual events, and one-on-one fundraising. The session opened up with a presentation on motivating Millennials and building community amongst them. As the conversation shifted to discussing smart ways to hire and recruit Millennials as staff and board members, guest speaker and rockstar fundraising professional, Dominique Calixte joined the class to share her story and field questions about successful fundraising strategy.

Dominique Calixte began her career as an AmeriCorps teaching fellow. She has now worked in the philanthropy space for a little over five years. Throughout her career, she has been able to support nonprofits in building revenue streams. She now has an interest in helping to activate millennials as change-makers through philanthropy and effective DEI practice in the fundraising space.

As course members move forward to launch their events and give platforms to engage Millennials, Donique shared her top tip: “Build community. Oftentimes the thing that is lacking with efforts connected to Millennials is the building community aspect. When it comes to your board of directors or major donors, you send updates and connect them with each other and help them network amongst each other but oftentimes, that community aspect and effort isn’t there when stewarding Millennials and Gen z. It becomes the last thing on your organization's list. Even if it’s just small dollars and time Millennials are giving, build that community. Just, build it. It’s worth it.”

And, while targeting platforms specifically for younger donors is smart, it’s also important that young voices are seen and heard in the entire organization. When asked about intergenerational collaboration, Dominique wisely reminded the group that organizations can create a disconnect between generations if they are not thoughtful and giving everyone a seat at the table “Intergenerational conversations are important, and oftentimes you have the young professionals out there making an impact, but they aren’t seeing it come together with the rest of your organization’s work - and that’s where that missing gap is. You are doing all this stuff and making an impact for a mission and they (Millennials) don’t really know what is goin on over there at the board level or in conversations with major donors, etc.. and we (Millennials) want the connectivity of all that.”

Lastly, as a woman of color and a Millennial, Dominique infused her entire talk with bold values about inclusion. Calling everyone forward, she ended by emphasizing the need to move beyond statements and committees and ensure people ‘feel’ included in every setting within the organization: “Oftentimes people think of inclusion and they don’t think of all the ways to be inclusive. The hot button can be race but if you have an inclusive and diverse board and see all men, or all able-bodied people- or one person of color- or one young person - it’s obvious you may be looking to tokenize and before joining a new organization, I want to see how you interact with that inclusion statement or belief (and I think other Millennials do too). I’m going to ask how to sit in a meeting and I want to see how you are inclusive as a board in conversations. Do you have a person of color ? Great. But is their voice being valued? Let me witness it.”


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