It’s not a new topic – Millennials are an incredibly passionate generation with many avenues and access points to get involved with causes they care about, and many often do. Millennials regard their resources, such as time, networks and money, as having equal values, and often go beyond monetary donations as a way to become personally invested in a cause.
According to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report, 70% of Millennials volunteered between 1 and 10 hours during 2014 and 84% of Millennial employees surveyed, made a charitable donation. According to this Forbes article, if you want to get Millennials involved in your cause with time and money, you need to create something they can experience (which they like to do with peers/friends).
How does this trend affect our local social sector?
A few ways (and we’re only highlighting a handful now).
- There is an increasing belief among Young Professionals (YPs) that they don’t have to work for a nonprofit to do good – they are open to working for businesses that emphasize community engagement and social impact (read our posts on New Generations of Leadership and on Local B Corps) and offer paid time off to volunteer, company-wide volunteer days and incentives like company donation matching.
- We’ve seen a huge boom in local organizations creating structured ways for YPs to engage in their cause through Junior Boards and YP Councils, where they help fund raise, plan events, help spread the word through social media campaigns and offer talent in forms of pro bono services. A few local organizations joining this trend recently are the Young Women’s Leader Alliance (YWCA), Family Lifeline Young Professionals, Better Housing Coalition Junior Board, VHBG Young Professionals (Virginia Home for Boys and Girls) and Fit4Kids Young Professional Board.
- Even with Young Professionals and Millennials wanting to “do good” and organizations figuring out structured ways to keep them involved and engaged in meaningful ways, there still seems to be a disconnect from both sides. Ashley Hall, (featured later in this post) captured it best when asked about local trends in YP engagement saying, “It seems like you see the same familiar faces. Once you get engaged in one thing it leads to another, and another, and then 10 more! That’s awesome, but how do we get every YP in our community to give a darn, to learn more about the issues in our community, spread the word, and be part of the solutions?”
This trend/issue led to a group of young leaders coming together to discuss ways in which RVA could make sure all local YPs know the avenues and access points to get involved with causes they care about and also work toward creating opportunities for organizations to make connections among YPs that might care about their cause.
RVA Gives a Darn!
The emerging leaders of HYPE, United Way Young Leaders, HandsOn Greater Richmond, Capital Region Collaborative, Peter Paul Development Center, and YWCA all give a darn about RVA and came together to host and organize a happy hour to surface the causes that young people care about and crowd source the ways they can take action. They are encouraging all emerging leaders in our community to come and share what they give a darn about and what they are doing to make an impact at RVA Gives a Darn – a free networking happy hour with local nonprofit leaders in attendance on September 8th from 5pm to 7pm at Hardywood.
We caught up with the organizers of the event to learn more:
Liz Doerr, Director of Platform, NRV
Why should YP’s come out to this event? People that are excited about making Richmond a better place and learning about how to get involved in a variety of community organizations will be at this event.
What should YP’s expect from this event? Our mission is simple, to talk about why we love the city and inspire folks can get involved.
What do you think YP’s give a darn about in RVA? YP’s give a darn about the city and its quality of life, outdoor activities, restaurant scene and overall community feel.
What’s a trend you’ve noticed in YP engagement in RVA? There is a lot of positive momentum in the city from a record number of YP candidates running for local office to the increasing number of young people getting involved in all sorts of causes.
What do you give a darn about? Making a positive impact in my community through local politics.
Rupa Murthy, Chief Development Officer, YWCA Richmond
Why should YP’s come out to this event? YP’s should come out to take part in the best parts of our City – the organizations that fuel the people who live, work and play in RVA.
What should YP’s expect from this event? They should expect to learn and engage in the parts of our City that are most important to them, the organizations that fuel their life, work and play in RVA.
What do you think YP’s give a darn about in RVA? Themselves. 🙂 Improving a community so they can live their best lives.
What’s a trend you’ve noticed in YP engagement in RVA? A trend I’ve noticed is raising dialogue and awareness about the injustices that hold our city hostage and creating an energy/movement that is bigger than themselves to right the injustices that exist in RVA – poverty, pollution, inequality and access.
What do you give a darn about? All of the above. My top priority is creating equity in education to break the cycle of poverty and violence that plagues our City. My other top priority is raising my children in a city that I love.
Emily Watkins, Director of Strategic Engagement, United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg
Why should YP’s come out to this event? You can connect with other people who give a darn about RVA to share what you care about and what you are doing to make an impact. If you are looking to get involved with your community, you have a network of people to connect with and learn from.
What should YP’s expect from this event? They should expect to meet some new people who give a darn about RVA. There are no speeches, no formal programs. We will be surfacing the causes that we care about and crowd sourcing ways we can take action on message boards, photos and social media.
What do you think YP’s give a darn about in RVA? We hope this event will surface some of those things, so look for posts with #RVAGivesaDarn to find out! My experience has shown that people want to feel part of the community. We have heard from people doing that by volunteering, supporting local businesses, joining a group like United Way Young Leaders or HYPE, or playing in a sports league. But there is not one answer, so I am hoping to learn from my peers as well at this event.
What’s a trend you’ve noticed in YP engagement in RVA? In the year I have been working with United Way Young Leaders, the one trend that stands out to me is that “Millennials” are more different than we are the same. We all have such different passions, life experiences and sensibilities. Accordingly, we have carved out new and different paths to getting engaged and making a positive impact in the community. I think there are also some people who just moved here or are at a transition point in their life and are just starting that process of creating that path for themselves. So we wanted to invite and convene young people who care, a little or a lot, to grab a beer together and learn from each other.
What do you give a darn about? I give a darn about RVA. I joined the United Way movement because I love Richmond and our region and I want to part of the solutions to build a better life for all in our community.
Damon Jiggetts, Executive Director, Peter Paul Development Center
Why should YP’s come out to this event? YP’s should come out to support a local business and support causes that they and other YP’s care about.
What should YP’s expect from this event? You should expect good conversation, good beer and good ways to connect to things you give a darn about.
What do you think YP’s give a darn about in RVA? We know you care about the RVA brand, whatever that is. We know you want to help define it.
What do you give a darn about? I give a darn about supporting local businesses, local leaders and local creations, but most importantly, our youth.
Ashley Hall, Manager, The Capital Region Collaborative
Why should YP’s come out to this event? It’s a great chance to meet other passionate YPs and learn about ways to connect deeper to the community. Whether you give a darn by volunteering, supporting local entrepreneurs, donating to nonprofits, or advocating for issues you care about… just give a darn!
What’s a trend you’ve noticed in YP engagement in RVA? It seems like you see the same familiar faces. Once you get engaged in one thing it leads to another, and another, and then 10 more! That’s awesome, but how do we get every YP in our community to give a darn, to learn more about the issues in our community, spread the word, and be part of the solutions? That’s the spark we hope to ignite at this event.
What do you give a darn about? I give a darn about creating an inclusive community where everyone feels a part of making RVA great! As young leaders, we have to get involved and ensure the future we want for our community.
Austin Kitchen, Leadership Engagement Manager, ChamberRVA
Why should YP’s come out to this event? It will build connections among YPs wanting to make a difference and help bring awareness around different nonprofit happenings.
What should YP’s expect from this event? Networking, beer and a chance to discuss important issues in RVA.
What do you think YP’s give a darn about in RVA? Revitalization in local neighborhoods, bettering our schools and bringing together the community to make Richmond a better place to live, work and play.
What’s a trend you’ve noticed in YP engagement in RVA? More collaboration.
What do you give a darn about? Bettering schools in Richmond through mentoring programs like BBBS.
Make sure to RSVP for RVA Gives A Darn! on September 8th from 5pm to 7pm at Hardywood!