Post by BVU Staff:  Julie Clark, Sr. Director, Leadership Programs

KeyBank’s Millennial KBNG met with 16 nonprofits in a speed-dating event, where groups of Key employees rotated around the nonprofits. Participants learned about direct service volunteering, associate board, young professional group, and committee opportunities with a variety of nonprofits serving Northeast Ohio.

KeyBank’s Millennial KBNG met with 16 nonprofits in a speed-dating event, where groups of Key employees rotated around the nonprofits. Participants learned about direct service volunteering, associate board, young professional group, and committee opportunities with a variety of nonprofits serving Northeast Ohio.

Millennials are tech savvy, ambitious, team-oriented, creative and generous with their time. Based on our work with nonprofits and businesses, we hear many times that nonprofits are looking for ways to reach Millennials to build a future base of supporters and volunteers for their organization and its mission. At the same time, businesses are trying to figure out the best way to meet the requests of their younger employees to give back and make a difference, something that the millennial generation has grown up with and is part of who they are.

The Millennial Impact Research is the most comprehensive research on Millennials age 20-30 and the engagement preferences of the next generation of donors, volunteers and leaders.  Based on their research, Millennials want to see more opportunities to lead on nonprofit boards and committees.  They feel that young professional groups and events provide a great opportunity to get to know an organization.   Also, they found that engaging Millennials requires hands-on relationships and long term commitments.

So, how can nonprofits connect with the next generation of supporters?

  1. Learn how Millennials connect and engage with a cause:  Millennials are tech savvy and the first place they run to is Google to find out more about your organization. Make sure your website shows up on search engines and don’t forget about Facebook, 55% of young professionals reported going to social media (a close second to web searches) to find out more about a cause.
  2. Take a look at your current volunteers.  Are you utilizing them to their fullest potential?  Could you use a young professional’s perspective on your board?
  3. Try to connect with the Young Professionals groups in your area.  Young Nonprofit Professionals Network has an interactive map to locate chapters in your area.
  4. Make sure that you are engaging Millennials in a way that they will respond.  BVU has a long history of matching professionals to nonprofit boards.  When we were thinking of ideas to recruit young professionals, we tailored our board matching process to them.  We started hosting our Linking New Leaders event in 2008 which is a “speed dating” event to introduce young professionals in the business community to nonprofit leaders in short order and quick succession, spending 5 minutes with each to learn about the organization and their opportunities for getting involved.  We have matched more than one hundred young professionals to nonprofits that can use their skills and expertise in a variety of roles.  Just last month, close to 80 individuals started the process and were introduced to amazing organizations within our community.

In the end, it’s about individuals connecting with nonprofits that both meet their passions and need their skills and perspective.