It’s no secret that millennials want to make a difference. To young people, social issue engagement is instilled in their very identities. They want to give their time, money and skills to the causes and organizations they’re passionate about, and they want to feel that their participation is making a difference.
At the same time, millennial involvement today looks very different from the participation of past generations.
Derrick Feldman, President of Achieve Agency, speaks to this, saying: “Millennial engagement with causes and the organizations that serve them is shifting. They’re moving deep into a change-making and giving lifestyle that’s separate from the forms of engagement we’re used to. Causes and nonprofits need to find more personal, and personally fulfilling, ways to engage millennials.”
Gone are the days of using hype and jargon to drive action. Today, non-profit organizations must get in tune with the digital world and avoid manipulating readers through emotional words and visuals. Instead, straightforward communication that clearly defines the organization’s mission and how a potential supporter can make a difference is key to growing supporter base.
Collaboration is another crucial component when it comes to non-profits reaching larger audiences. Millennials more often share information about preferred causes, instead of specific organizations. When nonprofits partner with other businesses, the government, and each other, their message grows stronger and they have a higher potential of generating more attention to their cause.
Canadian journalist turned non-profit executive and Vice President Communications & Promotions with the Canada Media Fund, Mathieu Chantelois adds an important point, explaining that supporting social organizations does not necessarily require donating money.
Even for those millennials who are still finding their place in a career or paying off student debt, they can help in other ways, like advocating for a cause with their time and personal resources. From spreading the word on social media platforms to attending a march or rally, this generation wants to be involved in programs that benefit the greater good, and there are plenty of ways to help out.
“Young people have the potential to change the world. If we want to solve the most pressing issues of our time, we need to encourage young entrepreneurs to get involved, because they have the most creative ideas for social change,” Mathieu Chantelois adds.
Take a closer look at the impact Twitter has made on our cultural consciousness. Whether it’s tweeting out the latest news or meme, a staggering 5,787 tweets are sent every second of the day. And since millennials like retweet, or share content on social media, non-profits can capitalize on this and create easy ways for their followers to spread information about issues and organizations they care about.
Drawing millennials to a cause go further than social media, though. Organizations need to do an effective job of making information available. Millennials educate themselves on causes using the tools available to them. Today, providing information through digital outlets makes it easy for this generation of change-makers to research an organization through a website, social channels and more. Author William H. Frey possibly sums up millennial involvement in social change best with his words: “How the millennials fare in terms of their accomplishments, the examples and role models they provide for the later generations, and how they overcome barriers in terms of race, ethnicity and other things … is going to … determine how we fare, in this new century.”