A lot has changed over the past 10 years, but certain values have not. According to the 2021 Deloitte Millennial Survey, millennials and Gen Zs have maintained their idealism, desire for a better world, and their belief that business “can and should do more to help society.”
These steadfast principles bode well for nonprofit organizations as millennials and Gen Zs enter and experience success in their careers and commit to causes they believe in.
Prime Time for Involvement
The Pew Research Center identifies millennials as those born between 1981 and 1996, while Gen Zs are those born in 1997 on. This makes their age range from about 23 to 40, representing the largest portion of the workforce in the U.S.
What can nonprofit organizations do to leverage these cohorts’ desire to help and attract them to their volunteer and donor ranks? Here are four characteristics to embrace when appealing to millennials and Gen Zs:
Be collaborative: The old-school chain of command that has typically defined organizational operations is failing millennials and Gen Zs. They prefer to be affiliated with organizations where they are encouraged to contribute to the decision-making process and to understand the context and reaching of major decisions.
Nonprofit organizations that promote a collaborative environment are more attractive to these generations than those that work in siloes. Consider implementing donor surveys, targeted task forces, broad roundtable discussions, and cross-functional brainstorming to attract this crowd to your cause.
Be flexible: One obvious challenge of the pandemic has been how to be more flexible with the workplace. The same goes for donor and volunteer recruitment.
The Deloitte survey found that more than 40% of millennial and Gen Z respondents consider flexibility and adaptability to be hallmarks of a successful business.
If your programming allows for flexible volunteer hours and locations or offsite meetings, lean into these features as much as possible.
Be diverse: Gen Z is arguably the most open minded and tolerant of any generation. They expect to see diversity in their community, volunteer, and work lives. They are more adept at understanding and embracing all forms of diversity, including gender identity and multicultural backgrounds. But they also understand that diversity is a work in progress and that getting to meaningful equity will take effort.
Take care to reach out to a diverse population in terms of emerging leadership, volunteer coordination, and employee base. And don’t overlook your board — it’s the face of your organization.
Be digital: Millennials and Gen Zs grew up with digital devices and connectivity. They’re not only tech savvy, they expect technology to be part of solving social problems. These groups know that technology is essential to bringing people together.
Your organization must reach this population using popular digital pathways. For example, is your web presence mobile, fast, and attractive? Are you telling your story across all platforms? Do you use calendaring programs to let volunteers schedule their time and track their impact? Do you accept donations on your web outlets?
Engage on Their Terms
It’s interesting to see how millennials and Gen Zs are making an impact. Their concerns center around many of the pressing social issues of the day — and they want to help. Engage them on their terms and your organization is sure to benefit from their energy and enthusiasm.
Our team can help you brainstorm your volunteer and donor strategies. Contact us to set up a time to talk.
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