People love trying to figure out my generation. I’ve heard it all. Millennials are entitled. Millennials have no attention span. Millennials don’t know what they want. Personally, I don’t buy it. Growing up with technology doesn’t make us entitled, it increases our skillsets. Having many interests doesn’t mean we are inattentive, it means we care about many things. Not knowing what we want is definitely not a problem. If anything, the problem is that we want to do so many things.
The strong skillsets, varied interests and the desire to do it all are exactly why Millennials make such great volunteers. The 2012 Millennial Report found that 63% of Millennials volunteered for a nonprofit in 2011. With that number of Millennials already volunteering in some capacity, the first step to getting Millennial volunteers is acknowledging that they want to volunteer.
That being said, there is no real secret to attracting Millennials to volunteer with a nonprofit. We are people, like anyone else. Getting us involved is as simple as showing us why we should care and asking for our help. There’s no exact set of steps to follow, but here are a few tips.
Millennials don’t want the sugarcoating treatment. Let us know what you need, why we are needed and what we can do to help. You don’t have to make us care, because we already care. You just have to give us the facts. Provide a clear call to action and we will follow.
Let us show off our skills
Unfortunately, many Millennials are either unemployed, underemployed or working in a field entirely separate from their field of study. This means that there are plenty of Millennials itching get the chance to use their skills. Give us that chance. Don’t just seek out volunteers; seek out volunteers that possess the specific things that your organization needs. If you give us the opportunity to showcase what we can do, we will want to take it.
Teach us new skills
Not only do we want to show what we can do, but we also want to learn. A part of growing up immersed in technology is that we’ve always had access to information when we want it. This has left us with a hunger for knowledge. The more we can learn, the better, so draw us in by letting us know that we have something to learn.
Hire us (when possible)
Our affinity for honesty means that we know that the job market isn’t great right now, and obviously, we don’t like it. Unfortunately, nonprofit directors do not have the means to hire every eager volunteer that comes through. However, getting the very best Millennial volunteers is much easier when there is a possibility of a job at some point. Millennials have so much to offer the job market, so don’t let the best candidates slip away. The younger generation of today will be running the nonprofits of tomorrow. Help them get there.
The most important part of attracting Millennials has nothing to do with us. It’s about you. When you have an amazing organization, mentors willing to teach and people to help, we will want to be a part of that. Give us the very best that you have and we will do the same for you.
This is a guest post from Erin Palmer. Erin is a writer and editor for the University Alliance. She writes about nonprofit and public sector topics relevant to Master of Public Administration degrees. What is an MPA Degree? Find out on http://www.villanovau.com/