Engaging Millennials in Workplace Giving

August 15, 2013 benevity

Have you noticed anything different in the office lately? You’ve probably spotted the young tattooed workers wearing skinny jeans and casual jackets. Welcome to the No Collar Workforce, comprised of the almost 80 million millennials (those born between 1982 and 2001) that are the next generation of employees. (By the end of the decade, they will represent 50% of the workforce.) One thing you probably haven’t noticed? The huge opportunity that this emerging group represents: an army of engaged and passionate corporate philanthropists.

The general consensus is that ‘kids these days’ don’t care about giving back to the community; they’re just a bunch of spoiled and entitled brats. The reality? About 93% of millennials donated to non-profit organizations in 2010 (“Best Practices in Workplace Giving” Global Impact: 2011) and they are among the most community-driven and connected generation to date. So what does this all mean to you and how does this information apply to your workplace giving? Well, millennials have their own style and needs when it comes to how things are done, especially on the web. These ‘net-natives’ have a high standard of online prowess and expect their employers to follow suit. Workplace giving systems with complicated, archaic and time consuming forms and a narrow list of causes/charities will send these young folks running the other way, fast. So we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks on how to engage these workers so they will be more productive, happier and overall satisfied employees and impactful corporate givers.

1. Make It Easy & Clean

Want to make a huge impact on these savoir-faire workers? Make it look cool. Millennials are what we call ‘net-natives’ meaning an overwhelming proportion of them have grown up with at least one computer in their home, have lived through the inception of both Facebook and Twitter and have extremely high standards for anything that exists on the inter-webs. Your workplace giving program has to be easy (to appeal to the one or two click world that we live in) and it has to be fast. Instant gratification is something that millennials take very seriously. Anything modern, clean, easy-to-read and quick to navigate will attract these employees. Try to appeal to their ‘tech-savvy-ness’ by imitating social media feeds, modern looking buttons and use dialogue that’s casual and conversational.

2. Give Them Choice

Remember when I said many people think millennials are entitled brats? Well it’s kind of true, but in a more positive way (I’m a millennial, so I’m allowed to say…). One of the most common learning themes for kids growing up in the 90’s and 2000’s was the concept of self-actualization and the importance of learning to show their abundant creative qualities. As such, they’ve learned that they have the freedom to make their own choices, the flexibility to learn from their mistakes and the autonomy to live their own lives. A workplace giving program should reflect these values by providing choice. Personal profiles that are customizable (to show their creativity), lots of choices about which causes/charities they give their money to and options for how often they’re going to do it are all going to resonate with millennials in a big way.

3. Communicate

It’s a connected world that we live in, and millennials are right in the thick of it. Personal relationships and a deep desire to connect at their workplace makes millennials receptive to workplace giving if it includes a way for them to spread the word. A great workplace giving program should include lots of ways for workers to connect to each other, make recommendations and share their contributions to their network. Millennials also want information (and lots of it!) about volunteering opportunities, updates on their charities and other ways that they can become leaders and philanthropists. This will boost morale and make employees feel like they are making an impact on the charities that they have chosen (which is an awesome feeling!).

4. Make It Compelling

While we’re on the topic of leaders, I should let you know that millennials take this concept pretty seriously. It has been shown that millennials have a huge desire to become leaders, experts and trailblazers (we basically want to change the world!). What better way to appeal to this revolutionary spark than to make charitable campaigns really compelling, engaging and exciting? This is the best way to get employees to feel in charge, and also like they are making their own mark on the world. Millennials like to share what they’ve done because they’re proud of the contribution they’ve made and the karma they’ve collected. Making giving campaigns and volunteering opportunities that are fun, informed and compelling will show employees that you are current and that you understand how millennials think and work.

Never underestimate the power of a generational cohort, especially one almost as large as baby boomers! These tips and tricks will help you tailor your workplace program to this growing, transformative and empowered group of future corporate philanthropists.

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