GatherDC shares communications strategies for reaching young adults

Millennials are connecting to religion in a different way, so how can religious groups best reach young adults? Experts from Gather DC shared from their expertise at the April 2018 meeting of the D.C. chapter of the Religion Communicators Council.

A Jewish nonprofit dedicated to relationship-based engagement, GatherDC connects Jewish individuals in their 20s & 30s to each other, to DC Jewish life and to meaningful adult Jewish identities. Allison Friedman, Gather DC’s communications director, and Rachel Gildiner, the executive director, led a lively discussion session on how any religious nonprofit can focus strategies to build bridges to the younger generations.

While organizations historically have measured success by the number of people at an event or involved, GatherDC has learned that a focus on creating more personal experiences can create deeper, more meaningful connections among young adults. Getting to know constituents’ interests and passions allows GatherDC to make a large group feel small, which is what many in their target age bracket are seeking.

Training individuals to foster relationships is key for in-person interactions, and GatherDC also uses digital media to make people in their 20s and 30s feel connected, showcasing people in their community and providing valuable information about events and activities. They also established a certain “brand persona” so posts and emails from the organization feel more like they are coming from a real person instead of a faceless bot.   

Facebook continues to be key for outreach, but it’s important to use the tool wisely. Allison shared several important tips, including:

  • Facebook is prioritizing comments, so you want to have posts that people engage with so the post will reach a larger audience.

  • Use the 80/20 posting rule: 80% of your content should be of value to the community (e.g. a useful article, a profile of an individual), and only 20% should be something you are asking them to do (e.g. donate, attend event, etc.).

  • Use and leverage popular hashtags and tag people in your posts

  • Keep post designs image-heavy, and think of your accompanying text more as a headline

When it comes to email newsletters, GatherDC recommends you make sure you are providing value and asking for feedback (which young adults often want to provide). And, it’s important to measure your email results, analyze them and continue to evolve to meet your audience’s needs and preferences.

To learn more about GatherDC and see their strategies in action, visit their website at

GatherDC presentation to DC Chapter of RCC

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