How to Recruit Millennials to Volunteer

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a large group of Education Foundation leaders at the National School Foundations Association annual conference. I hosted a session about Millennial Parents and Millennials in the workplace. The goal was to educate the attendees on how to leverage emerging trends to help them secure funding for literacy projects, volunteers, and mentors for schools in their districts.

Millennials, those born between 1977 and 1997 will comprise 50% of the workplace by the year 2020, and that is concerning for companies. This year, they became the largest generation in the U.S., over 83 million strong.

Recent surveys of Human Resource managers from companies that employ at least 50 Millennials found that one-third of Millennials are considering career changes. If these trends continue, the average Millennial will change jobs as many as seven times in their lifetimes. It cost a company $15,000 to $25,000 to replace each millennial employee they loose because of the investment in recruiting, training, etc. Needless to say, this is a big issue for HR managers across the U.S.

Why is this challenging for HR managers but good news for volunteer recruitment efforts? Because companies have discovered that one of the key things Millennial employees look for in a company is corporate culture. They want to know how the company is investing in their communities and making the world a better place. They are also finding that an increased social impact focus that is front-and-center and supported from the CEO down is helping them recruit, inspire and retain millennial employees.

The 2016 Deloitte Volunteer Impact Study explains why this might be the case. They compared Millennial employees that participated in their company-sponsored volunteer programs versus those that didn’t, and the findings were impressive. 56% rate their corporate culture as very positive vs. 28% from those who did not volunteer. 57% feel loyal to their company. 51% are very satisfied with their employer, and 57% of those who participate in company-sponsored volunteer programs said they would likely refer their business to a friend.

An annual survey of 150 CEOs from fortune 500 companies showed corporate giving up 34% over the last five years, and education was the number one category funded. This makes sense because Millennial moms say education is their top political concern. Companies are also learning that giving is good for their bottom line. Businesses that increased their giving by 10% or more over the last five years experienced an 11% increase in sales over the same period. Not surprising because studies show that 56% of Millennial parents are willing to pay more for a product or service if they feel the company is investing in causes that are important to them.

So what does this mean for your service organization, nonprofit or school’s community outreach? It says, local companies need volunteer opportunities for their employees and are more open than ever to invest in programs that have positive social impact. Since education is the top concern for Millennials and the number one cause companies are supporting, schools, nonprofits, and service organizations have an excellent opportunity to help them. Yes, that’s right. You are helping them with employee engagement. It is a real win-win-win.

Take a look at where you are performing your service outreach on a map and draw a five-mile circle around your location. Reach out to every business that is in that circle. Also look at the larger companies in your city as they tend to have more employees and a larger social impact budget. Ask your members, donors and parents to reach out to their companies and see if there is a social impact budget or a volunteer matching program.

When you reach out to small to medium companies, go right to the top. You can find the contact information usually on the company’s website and on LinkedIn. For larger companies, reach out to the Human Resources person as they are in charge of employee engagement. Provide them volunteer opportunities for their employees. Focus on the volunteer experience first and you will find that those who had a great experience will follow through with a donation.

Now is the time to capitalize on the Millennial workplace trends to take your community outreach to the next level.


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