VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, features chapters from 35 experts in the field of volunteer engagement. In this series of blog posts, get to know these #35experts and their areas of expertise.
Today’s expert: Aria Finger, CEO, DoSomething.org and President, TMI Agency.
First of all, why is your topic, Engaging Millennials and Younger Volunteers, important?
For one, teens and millennials are the future donors for all organizations. As many organizations have an aging donor base, they might dismiss teens and younger millennials since they don’t have the capacity to give. Now is a fantastic time to engage these younger folks as volunteers because: A.) they might have skills that older volunteers lack and B.) you will build a future donor pipeline that will pay off for years to come.
Explain your background on this topic. (In other words, what makes you a “volunteer engagement expert?”)
I’m lucky because I get to steal all of my expertise from DoSomething.org – one of the largest organizations for young people and social impact in the world. Every month we launch campaigns around various causes and we see hundreds of thousands of young people volunteering on every cause you can think of, from the environment to discrimination to global poverty. Through my work at DoSomething.org, I’ve learned the best language and messaging that encourages young people to take action, and I’m of course thrilled to share that with anyone who will listen!
What did you learn and/ or struggle with when writing your chapter?
The struggle when talking about young people is not to make them out like they’re a different species. In fact, young volunteers want a lot of the same things as older volunteers. They might be savvier with technology or value transparency more, but at the end of the day, people are people. They want to make a real, tangible impact and they want to have a good time while doing so. Those rules apply to anyone, 5 years old or 85 years old.
What is the one piece of advice you would give volunteer managers to take with them to the future?
Volunteers are diverse. They are looking for diverse jobs around diverse causes and have diverse motivations. Make sure to take the time to figure out what people really want so you can customize a volunteer experience for them, whether that’s one-on-one or through the use of technology and data.
To read Aria’s full chapter, Engaging Millennials and Younger Volunteers, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.