Civic Engagement and Advocacy Blog

Attracting the next generation of advocates

Posted by Brooke Soucie on 5/27/15 1:00 PM

I am a millennial, and advocacy is certainly not something that I would say is important to me. However, I am just starting a new business, and starting to realize that things like taxes and other regulations could impact the way I start and run that business. But I am busy enough, and it seems like something that is really far off. And even if it were something that was going to happen tomorrow, I am not sure I would feel that my email or phone call is really going to make the difference to a legislator that I didn’t even vote for.

It’s the harsh reality that many organizations who engage in any type of advocacy are facing. How do we engage our millennials?volunteer-grassroots-lobbyists-resized-600

Millennials have come to engage with family, friends and life through online digital communications.  They have come to expect information to communicate in a transparent, personal way.  This generation will use different references to research their interests.  Social networks have become their local hangout.

According to a recent report by Abila, only 34% of organizations tailor their advocacy campaigns by member’s age. Run a promotion to get folks engaged and then put your most critical pending legislation in front of them to educate and motivate them to take action. If a person is involved in advocacy, they are more likely to donate. SO the question becomes, how do you get millennials to engage in advocacy so that you can increase fundraising? Millennial donors, compared to Baby boomer donors engage and react through different forums.    

In the Abila study, millennials put volunteering ahead of donations. The simple reason is that we have more time and energy than we have money.

We support causes, not necessarily an organization. Focus your messaging on the work you are doing for the cause. Provide inspirational stories and impact reports to show the results that volunteering for your organization creating.  Make sure your volunteering opportunities are easily shared via social media channels, millennials love to click and share within their networks.  We like to derive a benefit from volunteering, a skill or new opportunity to take away.  Provide volunteering opportunities that also build skills.  We will volunteer again so offer multiple ways to volunteer, from virtual, to one day events, to board opportunities.

Is your platform creating a place where millennials  can collaborate with other volunteers?

Brooke Soucie

Written by Brooke Soucie

Topics: advocacy community