Mention the word Millennial to someone over 40 and you usually get a sigh, then one of the typical stereotypes. “They are lazy, entitled, narcissistic, etc.” Hey, I get it, I have one of those things living with me, but you know what. It’s all BS! The Millennial generation is empathetic, caring and will end up being the most generous generation ever.
Today’s young Americans are more serious about giving back than their parents. Think about it, Millennials are the first generation that was forced to perform community service in high school and college. While they may have been forced by their parents at first, you know what? It worked. They are carrying that giving spirit into adulthood and many of them are looking for ways to give back. Research shows that Millennials believe donating time is more valuable than money. They believe in the power of giving even if they are struggling financially. 63% of Millennials think donating time makes a bigger impact than donating money. That’s fantastic news for charitable organizations that are having difficulty recruiting, engaging and retaining volunteers.
Before you run out to Starbucks (another stereotype) and round up a bunch of Millennial volunteers, you need to keep these five things in mind when recruiting and engaging Millennial volunteers.
1. Tell Your Story – Millennials are motivated by causes, not specific charities. They really don’t care who you are; they care about what you do. Communicate the stories from those you serve. Tell Your Story!
2. Help Them Develop – Skills-based volunteering is the fastest growing CSR segment. Millennials want to learn new things from their experiences. Provide your volunteers opportunities that will allow them to develop new skills or utilize the skills they already have. Provide opportunities for them to network with others as well.
3. Recruit Where They Are – You need to be all over SOCIAL MEDIA! Don’t make it difficult for them to find you. Millennials are on social networks and their mobile devices constantly. They use the latest apps and “mobile optimized” websites to find volunteer opportunities like VolunteerMatch.
4. Thank Them and then Thank Them Again – Thanks to their Boomer parents who consistently provided their children “at-a-boys,” Millennials value frequent feedback. They subconsciously don’t want to “mess up” so you need to let them know they are doing well and let them know you appreciate their service and good work.
5. Provide “Shareable” Experiences – Millennials share everything on their social nets. It is important that you encourage them to share their experiences. The average Millennial has over 500 Facebook friends. Encouraging them to share photos and comments from their volunteer experience. This reinforces the fact that they are doing good with all of their friends, and it will share your great work with their vast network of peers. Free advertising!
It’s all in the Millennial Volunteer research. When Millennials were asked why they chose to volunteer 79% said it was because they were passionate about the cause; 61% said it was to broaden their professional skills, and 56% said it was because they wanted to meet new people.
As a huge volunteer advocate, I am super excited about the Millennial generation. Shift your attitude towards those Millennials and you may end up with more volunteers than you know what to do with. Now let’s go to Starbucks.