You are young, you should know...

You are young, you should know...

In last week's Chronicle of Philanthropy, they featured an article titled "Charities Seek Connections to Generation Y".  They cited some recent research about Gen Y and their use of technology, giving habits and interest in the sector in general.  As a young nonprofit professional are you challenged at work to be the spokesperson for a generation?  Do the more experienced, senior managers, look to you for answers on how the organization should communicate to younger people? I believe that is an unfair challenge.  Sure, we use our BlackBerry as much (or more in some cases) than the next person, but does that automatically make you a marketing or fundraising pro?

Or does your organization fall on the other side, missing the boat entirely by not seeking input from you and colleagues in this demographic?  I think to some degree we all try to balance between providing input on how to approach the younger generation and being responsible for all the work.

So, how do you balance?

1.   If it is not your department, volunteer to help out with fundraising or volunteer recruitment efforts focused on Gen Y.

2.  Understand the constant battle of budgets vs return and find cost effective ways to push the message.  Bring these ideas to the table.

3.  Don't be offended when your ideas aren't used.  Continue to provide them.

4.  Be knowledgeable.  Do the research.  Understand what studies are out and what info is available on demographics.  Not only does it back up your ideas, it prepares you if your colleagues are looking for input.

5.  Learn about other generations.  You want the senior level (baby boomers) to care about your generation...take a minute to understand the volutneering and philanthropy mindsets of theirs.

6.  Get your network involved with your cause.  If senior staff sees you brining volunteers and donors to events, they will take notice.   Let your actions speak.

This is definitely just a handful of ways to balance being the Gen Y expert and providing valuable insight.  What else have you seen work?  How does your org approach marketing to younger demographics?

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