Appeal to Millennials Using the Rule of -ates, Part 4: Donate

Bill McManus   |  Thu Jun 25 10:00:00 EDT 2015


Previously in the “rule of –ates” series, I addressed the topics of congregate, recreate and educate. The final component in this list is particularly applicable to millennials: donate.

“Giving back” and “making a difference” are common phrases in the millennial nomenclature. While, in general, Gen Y isn’t necessarily in the position to make large financial donations (they’re too busy paying off student loans and/or are in saving mode), millennials are still a socially conscious group. Whether they donate a portion of their wealth or a chunk of their time—or both—to certain organizations or causes, finding out the giving habits of your millennial clients can help you make meaningful connections with them.


I have a few suggestions to help financial advisors relate to millennial investors about how, where and why they choose to donate their time and resources:

Discover what they are passionate about
Where we choose to allocate our resources is an important part of who we are and what matters to us. Find out where your millennial clients volunteer, donate old clothes or make monetary contributions. The organizations they choose to support can tell you more about their personal concerns and hopes. Having this information will also give you fodder for ongoing conversation starters and give you a way to relate to them.

Show an understanding for their social consciousness
I’ve mentioned before that millennials want a financial advisor who listens and displays empathy, and this is the perfect forum to do so. For millennials, volunteering is an important activity, one that they are proud of, and they are enthusiastic about being involved with causes and people outside of work and their social circle. Ask them about their experiences, no matter how big or small. Stay on top of their charitable involvement so that you can ask follow-up questions later. Show your millennial clients that you care about what they care about, and you will gain more of their trust and respect.

Find ways to make connections
If you can connect to a client about something that really drives them, then you have uncovered a tremendous way to break through to them. When you ask your millennial clients about their donation preferences, think about your own as well. Do you have similar passions? Have you supported a cause they might be interested in getting involved with? Are you looking for a way to give back and like what they are doing? Have you or someone you know been affected by an organization or particular cause that they help? If you make a connection in this way, you are engaging your client in a discussion that matters to them, and you are showing them that you are interested in and support their passions. As a result, your millennial clients will feel more aligned with you, and you will also humanize yourself to them.

Having the conversation with your millennial clients around where and how they donate their resources can help you identify several ways to appeal to and bond with them. In addition to exploring the ways in which your clients give back, consider also making it known how you and your firm do. Be visible about the charity events, causes or organizations you’ve sponsored. Make that information available on your website—for Gen Y, that tactic might just be more impactful than your local market update.


Bill McManus

Bill McManus  

Director, Strategic Markets

Bill is part of the Strategic Markets Team for Hartford Funds. In his current position, Bill is responsible for engaging and educating both financial advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial-services marketplace. These opportunities range from tactical strategies in areas such as retirement-income planning, investment planning, and charitable planning, to anticipating and preparing for long-term demographic and lifestyle changes.

Bill joined the organization in 2003 as an advisor consultant responsible for marketing Hartford Funds in Virginia and West Virginia. Bill earned his Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) designation, is FINRA Series 7 and 63 registered, and holds his life and variable insurance licenses.

Bill has been widely quoted in consumer and trade publications such as US News and World Report and Wealth He has also appeared as a featured guest on Bloomberg Radio to discuss his views on retirement-related topics.

Originally from Smithville, New Jersey, Bill attended the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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