Chances are your work involves, or is impacted, by millennials -- the generation of people born between 1979 and 1994. While much has been said, written, and shared about millennials (just search online for "millennials" to see what I mean), there is far less data around what millennials collectively think, prefer, and desire... especially when it comes to interacting with businesses, nonprofits, universities, and other groups across sectors. This is a particularly difficult knowledge gap for organizations to overcome as they attempt to identify more effective ways to engage with members of this influential generation.
As strong believers in the potential of this generation, and in an effort to address this challenge, the Case Foundation has, for the third consecutive year, partnered with next-gen thought leader and creative services agency, Achieve in support of their Millennial Impact Report and MCON13 engagement conference. Today, Achieve released its much-anticipated 2013 report, which identifies new findings using survey responses from more than 2,600 millennials. This year's report touches upon peer engagement, design, messaging, and what encourages millennials to act in the moment -- and analyzes the data through the lens of how organizations can apply the information.
To date, more than 14,000 millennials have responded to the survey over the last four years -- making it one of the most comprehensive and detailed reports of this generation on engagement.
The full report is chock full of interesting findings, but in case you're short on time and plan to dig in later, here are the top three things you need to know about the survey results as detailed in the Millennial Impact Report.
Takeaway #1: Cause vs. Organization
"Seventy-three percent of millennials surveyed volunteered for a nonprofit in 2012. Their motivations: More than three-quarters were passionate about the cause and 67 percent felt they could make an impact for the issue they cared about."
In other words, when it comes to engaging with a nonprofit organization, the report revealed that millennials are drawn to the broader cause and issue -- not the organization itself. This learning is critical for understanding how organizations can improve their approach to engagement.
In particular, consider this framework when crafting messages, programs, or events with millennials. For example, in your next organizational newsletter, try layering in information about the issue(s) your organizations addresses, rather than focusing solely on self-promotional information if you are not already doing so.
Takeaway #2: Did Your Organization Make the Cut?
"Millennials are highly selective about what organizations they follow in a crowded and noisy media landscape... Nearly half of respondents (48.8 percent) follow one to five organizations on social media."
Despite the 24/7 flow of information, significant amount of time spent online, and near constant presence online for many millennials, the report confirms that most millennials actually only follow one to five organizations in social networks -- even though they are hearing from so many more online. While that doesn't mean they aren't seeing and interacting with the hundreds of messages from the other 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the U.S. via their social media streams, it does emphasize the importance of focusing on this group when it comes to engagement to make sure your message is heard.
The report uses these findings to emphasize the need for tailored messaging so that when your content is seen by this influential audience it will have a better chance of resonating with them and breaking through the social media clutter.
Takeaway #3: Turn Every Opportunity into a Networking Opportunity
"Respondents tended to be more interested in intrinsic benefits such as networking (51 percent) and gaining professional expertise (61 percent) than intangible discounts or gifts (though they wouldn't sneeze at free food!)."
This offers a good insight for anyone trying to rally a group to action or organize an activity around millennial involvement. In other words, frame the event or function around the opportunity to meet and work with others -- specifically peers.
For more tips, ideas, and advice check out the Millennial Impact Report and be sure to tune into the FREE MCON13 livestream to hear from leaders in the Millennial engagement space -- including, Sophia Bush, Mike Del Ponte, Rachael Chong, Jose Anotnio Vargas, Nicole Robinson, and many others.