The landscape of our culture has changed. Your first thought might be toward the negative changes in our culture, but the millennial generation is challenging the long-held ideologies of previous generations. It’s impacting philanthropy, and it’s good.
Millennials are confident enough to ask why things are done the way they are done, challenge authority, and inventively problem-solve issues as part of a team. They also have qualities that help others think outside of the box, and their passion for improving the world is contagious.
At Caring Network as a pro-life ministry in the western suburbs of Chicago, we appreciate and engage millennials because experience has shown us how good they are for our nonprofit organization. If you’d like to learn more about how to partner with us, reach out today!
Not only are millennials great for nonprofit organizations, but they’re also necessary. Derrick Feldmann, the founder of the Millennial Impact Study, says it this way: “Together, millennials and nonprofits can create solutions. But, if we as nonprofit entities won’t adjust to their needs, millennials – our new and future constituents –will move on without us.”
Get to Know Millennials
The media has unfairly stereotyped the millennial generation in many ways. You’ve heard the jabs; they’re criticized for being lazy, coddled, entitled, and so much more. But those criticisms are sometimes about perspective and the inability to discern millennials’ invaluable qualities. Let’s get to know them before we discuss why they are so great for nonprofit organizations.
Millennials were born between the years 1981 and 1996, according to the Pew Research Center, which has been studying them for more than a decade. That means they are all adults now, with some approaching 40.
At about 90 million strong, millennials bypassed the baby boomers by more than 20 million, making them the U.S.’s largest living generation. They also comprise approximately one-third of the workforce and are expected to make up more than fifty percent of the workforce in 2020.
Regarding the reputation millennials have received for being lazy, they value work/life balance and prioritize family before work. They also prefer connection and working in teams despite being known for their inability to communicate face to face.
They are achievement-oriented, confident, and ambitious, which all lead into the five reasons we’ll discuss regarding why millennials are great for nonprofit organizations.
1. Millennials Represent Their Generation
Millennial board members are essential to nonprofits. They advantageously understand their generation’s mindset and provide a perspective about their cohort, which those from other generations can’t fully appreciate.
Millennials are also heavily influenced by their peers. They typically don’t trust government, businesses, or organizations. But they do trust people like themselves, and since millennials make up such a large percentage of our population and are so philanthropic, it is wise to include them in spreading the word about your organization’s cause. Note we didn’t say a spokesperson for your organization because they care deeply about the people nonprofits help, not the organization itself.
When millennials work closely with you on your board, you’ll consistently glean valuable perspectives about what their peers care about, how they think, and what drives their decisions.
2. Millennials and Technology
Nearly everyone from every generation uses technology now. But for millennials, it’s practically in their DNA. How many boomers regularly need to ask a millennial to guide them through basic technological skills?
Millennials not only navigate through technology like baby boomers to a dial-up phone, but their keen insight can help you keep your social media presence, marketing, and communications relevant.
Millennials also understand the digital landscape and are particularly creative with digital strategies to keep your online presence user-friendly and mobile-friendly, which keeps their peers engaged with your nonprofit.
3. Millennials Care Deeply
Millennials are cause-oriented. They want to make an impact on the world by making a difference in people’s lives, but they are not interested in strengthening institutions. This fact can cause them to be committed and loyal employees and partners to nonprofits.
The largest generation in the U.S. workforce are millennials, and according to the are 60 percent of millennials want a sense of purpose in their work, and 77 percent chose their job based on that desire, according to the 2015 Deloitte Millennial Survey
Marketing consultant Chuck Underwood discusses the core value of millennials and their desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. He says, “They have a strong core value of teamwork. We sometimes call them ‘Generation Give.’ Millennials are active and engaged. They are joiners.”
They care deeply enough about the world around them that they are on track to become the most generous givers of any other generation in history.
4. Millennials Are a Highly Connected Generation
Millennials are the ones who will be a tremendous source of crowdfunding for your nonprofit because they’re more interested in getting their friends in on supporting your nonprofit organization than only writing a check.
More likely to share your nonprofit mission on their social media platforms, millennials will not only increase your exposure but also attract more talented people to your organization.
The most effective ways to connect with millennials include:
- Ask for more than financial donations so they can get involved and share with their peers.
- Tell them stories about how your nonprofit impacted people.
- Keep your message simple so they can succinctly repeat it and tweet it.
- Communicate urgency about how your nonprofit can impact people now.
5. Age Diversity Improves the Nonprofit Workplace
According to a briefing from the SHRM Foundation and AARP, age diversity in the workplace improves performance and productivity, helps reduce employee turnover, and drives innovation.
Studies reveal that workplace teams, which included mixed-age employees perform better and are more productive, particularly when those teams are working on complex decision-making tasks.
Your nonprofit organization can become strengthened and more innovative when you include the perspectives that millennials bring with them. Older employees might contribute their stability, experience, and wisdom, while younger employees bring creativity, collaboration, and refreshment. Together they can catapult your nonprofit to further its mission.
Hopefully, these five reasons why millennials are great for Caring Network and other nonprofit organizations were insightful. We value our ministry partners from every generation and know our mission to compassionately care for women facing unplanned pregnancies would not be as effective without you. We have many volunteer opportunities available to fit your gifting and invite you to contact us today for more information. Thank you for your faithful support!