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Today I read a Forbes article titled “How Millennials Are Changing Philanthropy,” and a few of the interesting points that you should keep in mind if you’re a nonprofit fundraiser are the following:

  • By 2020, Millennials will be the largest generational workforce in the U.S.
  • 84 percent of Millennial employees donated to a charity in 2014.
  • In the same year, 70 percent gave more than an hour of their time to a cause.
  • Even though Millennials earn less than earlier generations, are saddled with student loan debt, at the same stage in Gen X and Boomer generations, not such a high percentage in each group were giving money and time to charity. As people grow older, they become more generous.
  • Millennials are on the path to become the most generous generation in modern times.

One of the best things nonprofit leaders can do to begin to encourage Millennials to become associated with their cause is to create a volunteer program. Millennials are highly supportive of charitable causes, even if they don’t yet have the spending power of Generation X or the Boomers. Additionally, since Millennials are immersed in technology, they’re a great group to help you spread awareness about your organization to peers.

Get a Volunteer Coordinator

If you are serious about a volunteer program, one of the best things you can do is to select a volunteer coordinator. This person will be responsible and accountable for helping you develop the plan, execute the program and then also measure the impact that you’re making in your community. If you’re not able to hire someone, think about perhaps asking a current supporter who has lots of energy and enthusiasm for your cause. An essential quality for the volunteer coordinator is that this is someone who is warm, personable and passionate about the work you do because that enthusiasm will transfer to the prospects and volunteers they will speak to for your program.

Attainable Goals

To create an excellent volunteer program that Millennials will want to participate in, you have to be clear about developing a plan that has measurable and achievable goals. Once you’ve established a good program, you’ll need to create recruitment materials that will resonate with your target audience. It’s important to make sure you communicate well and in an easy way, the work you do, the outcomes you have in your community, and what volunteers will gain from participating. On that last point, think about why your volunteers would want to get involved, so consider all of the benefits that will encourage them to join, including goals for them that will help them see the impact they’re having as they volunteer.

Create a Volunteer Database

After you decide to create a volunteer program, you’ll want to make sure you collect from them relevant information. You can start out with an Excel sheet, or if you have a more flexible and robust CRM system that will allow you to collect information, including fields unique to volunteer programs, that would be even better. Make it a point to not only gather information like names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, social media handles, but you’ll also want to collect information about the hours your volunteers will work, what they will be doing and any other information directly associated with their volunteer work.

If you want to learn more about creating a volunteer program, take a few moments to watch this fun YouTube video.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact” (Free Digital Download)

© 2018 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.