Three out of four young adults donated money to a charity or cause last year, according to a new survey that underscored the philanthropic generosity of the so-called millennial generation.

The folks in their 20s and 30s also aren't shy about spreading the word about their favorite nonprofits. Seventy percent said they encouraged donations from friends and colleagues.

The data come from the 2012 Millennial Impact Report, produced by two national fundraising groups for nonprofits-- Achieve and Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates.

They surveyed more than 6,500 people between the ages of 20 and 35 to learn how they interact with nonprofits. The sample was focused on millennials with a high potential for giving. Ninety-five percent had college degrees.

The report offers tips for connecting with this group.

Want a plug on Facebook? Try sponsoring a "cool event." Three of four respondents said they'd share such information on Facebook. More than half also would share statistics, news and opportunities.

Want to get on their radar? Jazz up your website. Sixty-five percent want to learn about a nonprofit through its website, compared to 55 percent through social media. Only 17 percent want print information.

Looking for help ASAP? Tap the smartphone. Three quarters owned one, and the vast majority used them to connect with nonprofits.

"This prominence of smartphone usage is making a mobile strategy more critical than ever for nonprofits -- and mobile now means much more than just texting,'' said the report. "They're also viewing websites, gathering information and, in some cases, giving."

Younger folks are eager to volunteer. But they overwhelmingly find out about opportunities through friends and e-mails, as did 81 percent and 72 percent respectively. In particular, they're looking for opportunities to use their skills, and develop leadership opportunities.

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Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511