Are you often frustrated by low turnout at your volunteer events? Do you struggle to get your employees – especially your younger employees – to get excited and participate? You’re not alone, of course – Millennial employee engagement is a common problem.
In this case, however, the problem is not with Millennials themselves. According to the 2013 Millennial Impact Report from Achieve, 73% of Millennials volunteered for a nonprofit in 2012. Clearly, this generation is not against getting involved.
The issue, then, must be in how we are engaging Millennial employees. The Millennial Impact Report revealed that Millennials have three major motivations for volunteering: contributing to causes they’re passionate about, connecting socially and networking, and building professional skills and expertise. So if you focus on these three factors when engaging Millennials in your volunteer programs, you should see some great results.
Feed Their Passion
The ever-valuable Millennial Impact Report reinforced a growing maxim: Millennials care about and support causes, not specific organizations. So when you’re designing your volunteer programs and events, be sure to choose causes your employees are passionate about, and empower them to find multiple ways to support it.
Your Millennial employees will eagerly jump at the chance to help out their favorite causes within the work environment. According to the recent Net Impact study “Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012,” employees who are able to make an impact at work report greater satisfaction by a 2:1 ratio. And 58% of students say they would take a 15% pay cut for a job whose “values are like my own,” so appealing to employees’ passions will have recruitment and retention benefits, as well.
Build Their Skills
Millennials are pragmatic – they realize that they can derive other benefits while also doing good. Building professional skills and expertise is a very important benefit for this ambitious group, and volunteering provides an unparalleled opportunity for them to do this. Deloitte’s 2013 Volunteer IMPACT Survey showed that skills-based volunteering increases the competency of the individual over time, and 85% of college seniors who volunteered at a nonprofit said they learned something important in the process.
Companies are realizing the value of volunteering for professional development, as 75% of HR executives survey by Deloitte look at volunteer experience as part of hiring decisions, and Millennials are taking notice of these growing practices. Your employees will appreciate volunteer programs that give them opportunities to build professional skills and expertise.
Connect Their Networks
We’re not just talking online social networks, here. Millennials see volunteering as an opportunity to meet new, like-minded people and connect their online worlds with offline impact. So it’s important to make participation in your volunteer programs both easy and shareable.
Graphic from the 2013 Millennial Impact Report
Make It Easy
- The Millennial Impact Report teaches us that Millennials engage on a volunteer continuum, so it’s critical to offer multiple ways and levels of getting involved, from virtual and microvolunteering, to one-day events, to pro bono projects, to board opportunities.
- Many Millennials express frustration with long, inefficient and unnecessary training and orientation. Make sure any preparation for your volunteer events is efficient and preferably online.
- Millennials use their mobile phones – a lot! If you can, provide ways for Millennials to check-in to events, sign up to volunteer, get text alerts, and share with their networks, all from their phones.
- It’s important for Millennials that a project’s website be updated and full of useful information about the event and opportunities. They see websites as their portal to action, so make sure yours is easy to navigate and actionable, similar to the YourMatch platform.
Make It Shareable
- According to the Millennial Impact Report (and anyone who’s ever been on Facebook), Millennials respond really well to visual content. So include pictures, videos and infographics in your communications to Millennial employees to get them more excited.
- It’s also extremely important to Millennials to understand the concrete impact they are making with their volunteering, so don’t neglect follow-up communications and storytelling. Your Millennial employees will love to share inspirational nuggets about the difference they made volunteering.
Is your company doing anything special to engage Millennial employees in volunteering? Share it with us below!