3 Reasons You Need to Stop Rolling Your Eyes When You Hear: “Millennial”

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I know there has been a lot of talk about “Millennials” over the past couple of years. So much so,  in fact, that I’ve noticed a bit of “push back” from folks when they hear the word uttered. It’s almost like that hit song that first went viral, then got overplayed, then got parodied by everyone in animated holiday videos and finally got to the point where people just didn’t care about it anymore. (Sorry, Carly Rae Jepsen!)

 

So, if need be, grab a wooden spoon to bite into and help you get through this post– because there are some really good reasons that you need to pay attention to Millennials. Here are my top 3:

 

The leadership of your organization depends on it.

The greatest transfer in power and knowledge is currently underway. About 10,000 Baby Boomers are hitting retirement each day– and will be for the next several years. At the same time, the percentage of the workforce represented by Millennials is increasing. If your organization’s leaders are Boomers, you had better have a succession plan in place. Ideally, you should be training your future leaders to ensure they are up to the task and ready to take over when the time comes.  At the very least, you should be certain you are attracting good talent and establishing a culture that is inclusive.

Until last year, boomers made up the largest portion of the U.S. population, and Generation X represented the biggest share of the workforce. Now millennials lead in both categories: They hold about 20 percent of all management jobs, up from 3 percent in 2005, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.Bloomberg 

The future of your organization is counting on it.

Most nonprofits rely on charitable giving to keep their programs going. In addition to the earlier-mentioned transfer of knowledge and power, there is also a great transfer of wealth underway. With Millennials representing the largest demographic since the Baby Boomers, it’s vital to determine whether yours is seen as a cause about which they’ll care to contribute — or one they’ll find completely un-relatable?

Think about this: Millennials were born roughly between 1981 and 1997. They have never known life without computers or mobile phones. Only the oldest Millennials were born before the internet existed- or even know that “www” is an abbreviation for “World Wide Web.”  So, let’s cut them a break and have a little empathy.

Regardless of how they were raised, technology has always been there to provide an instant gratification fix for this group. They expect that finding and sharing information about you to be easy– so stop complaining about their demands and set your organization up for success by making sure that it is!  

Here are a few quick questions to get you started: Is your website optimized for mobile? If not, how will they find you on the smartphone that is within arm’s reach 24/7? Have you made it easy to donate to your organization on a smartphone? Are you sending out emails with the understanding that at least ⅔ will be read on a smartphone? Are you using the right Google search key words? 

Other than donating money, Millennials are potential volunteers, advocates, and staff. How are you connecting volunteer opportunities? Many visit sites like  VolunteerMatch.org  — is your organization included here?  And, whether they are giving time, talent, or treasures– Transparency is of vital importance. Make certain that your nonprofit’s information on Guidestar.org is accurate and current– or it could hurt you!

Connect with Millennials where they are: Get your social media marketing moving in the right direction. Bonus: this will help you connect with a variety of demographics depending on the channel you use.  Need some inspiration? Learn from the organizations who really get the most traction on the web…we’ve listed them HERE

 

 

It can actually help your organization with every demographic

“Millennial” may have been overused so much that when it is presented to readers or listeners, people start to zone out. I get it– sometimes I do, too!  I think one reason for fatigue is that the term “Millennial” is often connected to the perceived or outright “demands” of this demographic.

 

 

Truth be told, much of what they “want” or “expect” are things that other generations do, too.

So, maybe no one asked this Gen X-er, but I agree with many “Millennial Mandates.” I fully expect that businesses and organizations make purchasing and donating easy. I expect that I can find what I am looking for when I want it.  Thanks to a dizzying amount of information being spewed at me every moment of every day, my attention span has been whittled down to a millisecond and if you lose me, I’m probably not coming back. And that’s the case with most other people, too!

Disclaimer: While I don’t claim to be an expert on all things “Millennial,”  I have had more than my share of experience with “eye-rolling” as I have a Gen Z daughter and son.  I’m always interested in learning from other’s experiences. If you have a comment or insight to share, please include it below!

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Amy DeVita

Amy DeVita is managing partner at Top Nonprofits. A publisher, entrepreneur, mother, wife, social media enthusiast and fan and avid supporter of the do-gooders in the nonprofit/ for-impact sector. She has written for Top Nonprofits and Third Sector Today; she has been quoted on pieces about social media and social impact on The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. She was named to the Leading Women Entrepreneurs in NJ Monthly and she is a member of Social Media for Nonprofits' Leadership Council. In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, yoga, hiking, traveling, and playing Scrabble. Amy lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and three dogs. In 1984 she earned the "Most Improved Average" honor on her bowling league.