Millennial volunteers are one of the least represented generations in the volunteer workforce. On top of juggling work and family commitments, millennials (anyone born between 1981-1996) prioritize flexibility and freedom, something that doesn’t always match with non profit structures. But at the same time, they care deeply about the state of the planet, society and their community, and want to feel like they are leaving the world a better place.
Here are some key points for you to think about when creating a volunteer recruitment plan that engages the lifelong-learners, tech-savvy, purpose-driven millennial generation.
Millennials work well in teams
An IBM study revealed that more than half of millennial workers claimed to work better in groups than alone. It makes sense. Millennials grew up in an era where every school or university assignment was a group project, so they've become very accustomed to working in teams.
Utilize this to create diverse teams, mixed with different ages and abilities. Diversity and inclusion increase the richness of ideas, creative power, problem solving ability and respect for others. All of which are major positives not only for your organization, but society as a whole. Bring the group even closer by motivating volunteers to work towards a common goal, and point out the important role they all play in working towards that goal.
Millennials prefer using technology
Millennials find it easier to engage with technology as opposed to other means of communication. When recruiting millennial volunteers for your organization, offering easy-to-use registration software such as Rosterfy will make them far more likely to complete the sign up process and get involved.
In fact, one recent study found that one of the biggest barriers to volunteering was that potential volunteers were not getting responses from volunteer involving organizations about opportunities fast enough. As a volunteer manager, juggling all the day-to-day tasks is a big job, but it’s distressing to think of volunteers losing interest because of something so simple. Again, this is where a volunteer management solution can automate the whole process.
The volunteer could register online, receive a welcome email with a link to an online induction. Once they’ve completed that, they’ll automatically receive access to online interview slot bookings, and if successful a link to a contract, or training. All without a volunteer manager having to lift a finger. The same automated process can be set up for scheduling and rostering, training, attendance tracking and communications. On average, clients save 40% of their time by replacing manual processes with automations using Rosterfy.
Did you know, outdated technology decreases productivity? Once you’ve got them onboard, let your millennial volunteers teach you a thing or two about technology, so your organization can be more efficient. This will ensure they are able to provide value by utilizing their skills, while also improving your technological proficiency.
What age group has the highest rate of volunteering?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, in many volunteering statistics, it’s older adults. In Australia, and the UK, the largest proportion of volunteers are baby boomers, in the 55 – 74 age bracket. In the U.S., the age was slightly lower, with the 35 – 44 and 45 – 54 age brackets claiming the highest rates of volunteering.
Read about more impressive volunteer facts and statistics here.
Millennials becoming more eager to volunteer
Across all regions, teens and millennials volunteering were the least represented group. However, what’s interesting is that millennials are becoming more eager to volunteer as they become more aware of the benefits of volunteering.
The reasons behind this include:
- They may be looking to develop skills to help improve their job prospects
- They may have travelled overseas and seen poverty and it has opened their eyes to the need to give back to the less fortunate
- They may be looking to meet new people and expand their social network
- They may be students with spare time
- They may be encouraged to volunteer through their workplace as corporate volunteering initiatives expand
Corporate volunteering programs are often part of employee benefit packages as employers compete to recruit the best staff. These programs allow their staff to take anywhere from a day to a month off to volunteer with a non profit or charity, either as a team-bonding exercise, or individually.
These programs are often the catalyst for getting millennials connected to an organization they care about, and many choose to continue volunteering in their own time afterwards.
How to engage millennials?
Millennials came of age during the internet explosion, so it makes sense that they feel comfortable using the internet to conduct most of their life admin. Where a Gen X or baby boomer may prefer to pick up the phone and call someone to get the information they need, a millennial expects to be able to conduct their own research and find everything they need online. As we mentioned above, the first step to engaging millennial volunteers is by having a simple online registration process. Millennials not only feel comfortable doing basic admin tasks themselves, they expect to. So take the burden off your organization, and utilize a volunteer management program that can automate many of the admin tasks. By meeting these basic needs, you are already one step closer to encouraging millennials volunteering.
The other key thing to remember is that millennials are busy! This age group are likely juggling careers, a young family, travel, sport and fitness, as well as socializing. So they just don't have the same amount of time to commit as older volunteers who may be retired.
So the way to engage millennials volunteering, while taking into consideration their busy lives, is by encouraging episodic volunteering. Can you create opportunities within your organization that don't require an ongoing weekly commitment, such as helping out at an annual event, or selling raffle tickets? This way, you still get their commitment and engagement, while offering flexibility.
Episodic volunteering can also take the form of virtual volunteering or micro volunteering. This works well for skilled tasks that can be completed anywhere, such as posting an update on social media, or translating a document.
Causes millennials care about
A recent study from Seek found that the top five causes that millennials volunteered for over the previous 12 months were:
- Community service (35%)
- Animal welfare (28%)
- Sport-related causes (24%)
- Youth-related causes (24%)
- Education (23%)
Regardless of age, everyone can experience the benefits of volunteering. And organizations will benefit from a diverse workforce full of good, committed volunteers. So by making simple changes or adaptations to your volunteer program, you will be able to engage millennial volunteers and reap the benefits of their technical skills, networks and energy.
Find out more about engaging diverse volunteers by reading our articles on student volunteers and senior volunteering or listen to the podcast episode: Creating a Successful Youth Volunteer Program with Corina Sadler.
Is your organization looking to recruit volunteers? Find out how to quantify the value of volunteers here.
Get in touch with us to book a demo to see why Rosterfy is the ultimate volunteer management platform that can handle scheduling, recruiting, training, communication, check in and check out and reporting.