Think Like a Millennial

October 9, 2014 Benevity

Create Shareable, Clickable Goodness Programs for the Millennial Mindset

It’s no secret that Millennials are quickly taking over the world. As we’ve discussed in the past, there are already 45 million 20-34 year-olds employed in the US, and by the end of the decade they will comprise more than 50% of the workforce – that’s a huge change. And while sometimes they can be tough to figure out (why are they always photographing their lunch?) we do know one thing for sure: Millennials care deeply about giving. 

Of those 45 million Millennials, only 13% did not donate money to a non-profit in 2013. Of the 87% who did give, the majority made gifts larger than $100. (Source: Giving USA 2013) Millennials have a huge desire to give back to their communities – which makes them the perfect army of engaged givers, Cause advocates, and passionate volunteers.

Here are four tips on how you can harness that passion in your Workplace Giving efforts by Thinking Like a Millennial – creating shareable, clickable, totally awesome & engaging Goodness Programs that speak to the Millennial mindset.

1. How They Think: “We’re a Team”

Millennials consider their coworkers friends, and in many instances love spending time with them inside and outside the workplace – something relatively unique to this generation. When it comes to volunteering, they want to perform cause work together with groups of employee peers. According to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report, 77% of Millennials prefer giving and volunteering initiatives done in groups segmented by department, skills and abilities (as opposed to independent service projects) and 62% preferred to volunteer in a team comprised of people from their own department.

What To Do About It: Provide Team Opportunities

Build Giving and Volunteering Opportunities that are team-oriented and skills-based, so people can work together with their peers doing what they do best.

Offer company-wide volunteer days, so they can spend the work day with a number of coworkers (or should we say friends!) volunteering for the causes they love.

2. How They Think: “I Deserve An Audience”

Millennials love to share and broadcast everything they do with friends and family, usually through social media, blogs, or online forums. This is especially true when it comes to giving: Millennials consider their voice and social network as assets to charities, and will donate their ability to bring awareness to a Cause through their own network by Tweeting and sharing to their network.

What To Do About It: Help Them Share

Provide as many opportunities to Tweet, Like, and Link to your Goodness efforts as possible – and do as much of the work for them as you can. Provide ready-to-Tweet links with hash-tags to spread the word about your Giving Opportunity or Volunteer Event. Offer links and prepared text that’s simple to copy, paste & share through Facebook. The prep that you put in ahead of time on the Social Media front will make it easier for people to pick up your Cause and get it rolling through their networks.

3. How They Think: “I Want To Know The Whole Story!”

Millennials crave the big story – the more detailed, the better – and they want to know about the outcomes of their efforts. They’re looking to hear about how their contributions helped people: the number of kids they’ve helped train in STEM fields; the recent immigrants they’ve helped train to enter the workforce; the personal stories of families assisted by their food bank donations. Sharing these details does more than satisfy their curiosity – it creates a real sense of purpose for participants in your Goodness Programs, ensuring that Millennials will keep giving, and involve others.

What To Do About It: Tell (And Share) The Story of their Impact

Treat your Giving and Volunteering Opportunities as ongoing efforts, and provide updates before, during, and after to keep employees in the loop on the progress you’re making together. By telling a complete story – about the problem you’re trying to address, the work you’re doing, and most importantly the positive outcomes after the Opportunity wraps up – your Millennial employees will feel much more inspired and emotionally connected to their workplace.

Provide material with links to webpages that describes your Giving Opportunity or event, including videos, compelling images, and plenty of information about the problem you want to address. Look to the Causes you’re supporting for material – they probably have a wealth of resources ready to share.

4. How They Think: “Recognition is Vital”

Millennials seek rewards and acknowledgement for their contributions and efforts – 53% stated that having their passions and talents recognized was their top reason for staying with their employer. (2014 Millennial Impact Report) The good news is that Opportunities that play well with this need for recognition – by fostering feedback and kudos where they’re due – are also good for making a greater impact, and will make more people want to climb on board.

What To Do About It: Help Them Be Awesome (And Talk About It)

Creating Opportunities that make use of peoples’ unique skill sets – from IT support for a local arts group to accounting help for a homeless shelter – will really get the attention of Millennials. They will appreciate the chance to showcase their talents while giving their time. Skills-based volunteering is a great way to improve the organizational capacity of supported Causes while providing more meaning for your volunteers. 

Now that your passionate people are out there making an impact through their skills, its time to recognize their efforts. Remember all the updates and feedback we were talking about in the last point? Tell individual stories about team members and their different contributions as part of your ongoing Goodness Program communications. Not only will the person being featured feel great, others will want to get involved when they see how their own efforts can help make a difference.

The generational shift that’s taking place in the workplace is a transformational opportunity for companies looking to make connections with their employees through Goodness. Catering to the interests and desires of your Millennials will help excite and engage them (which is great); it will also help you create the kinds of new-school Goodness Programs that ultimately provide greater value to your company and community!

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