Guest post by Felicia Fitzpatrick, DoSomething.org
Millennials. The tech-savvy generation full of hipsters, selfies, and that loud girl Ke$ha. We’ve also been labeled the generation that is apathetic, self-absorbed, and entitled. What the media has been missing is the rather large group of us that actually do care. A group, armed with hashtags, that is ready to take action on and offline.
DoSomething.org is a nonprofit organization that takes the energy of those invested Millennials and harvests it in national cause campaigns every year. DoSomething.org gets Millennials to take action in their communities without needing money, a car, or an adult, making it super accessible for many teens.
For the past two summers, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with DoSomething.org as their social media intern, and I have seen tons of Millennials engaging in social change. Here’s how we engage with Milliennials on social media to get them to take action offline:
1. Royal Photos
Millennials love photos. We are very much a visual culture. That’s why Instagram has over 10 million users. That’s why photos are king on social media.
Went to a cool party? Instagram photo, or it didn’t happen. Experienced a beautiful sunset? Instagram photo, or it didn’t happen. The royal baby was born? Instagram photo, or it…well it did happen, but people were anxious until photos were released.
We use tons of inspiring image quotes that will motivate our members to take action. We even ran part of our campaign “The Hunt” on Instagram, encouraging members to share a stat and a corresponding photo on their own feeds. We had over 7,000 responses! They loved showing off their volunteer work.
Millennials’ top two fave causes? Animals and homelessness. That’s why we not only make sure to run campaigns such as Pics for Pets and Teens for Jeans, but if we see a heartwarming story about a shelter animal or an uplifting story about helping someone sleeping on the sidewalk, we talk about it. We like to be relevant and talk about the causes Millennials really care about. If they are truly interested, they will want to get involved and volunteer.
3. Emoji response
Millennials digest information very quickly, which is why we want something that they will immediately respond to emotionally. Is it exciting? Is it frustrating? Would they be able to respond to it with an emoji? If we evoke an emotion, they are more likely to take action.
Millennials love to talk and interact, especially when they are connecting over a specific idea. We love to talk and interact, too. We’re constantly interacting with members on our social media channels, so we can build a friendship, and they feel like we are friends chatting over coffee, not some faceless, robotic brand that never responds to them. We can also provide specific volunteer opportunities based on their personal interests.
5. Just ask them.
Millennials like volunteering. Contrary to the persona that society has placed on this generation, we actually like to get out and better our communities. With two million members participating in our campaigns, we’ve learned that we can just ask them to do something and they will, because they want to.
Felicia Fitzpatrick is a senior studying Theater and Dance at the University of Texas. She has been the social media intern at DoSomething.org for the past year, and has recently been named the Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine Her Campus Texas. After graduating in May, she hopes to move to NYC and saturate herself with Broadway shows, social change, and Shake Shack burgers.