Hi. I’m Jane Pfeiffer, founder of Fieldtrip, and welcome to Mission Multiplier. This is a weekly video series that’s focused on helping purpose-driven organizations close the gap between the people that they serve and the people who support the organization. Every organization is impacted by seismic level changes in the economy and the environment, but also in a change of audience attitudes. You’ve likely seen headlines about the changing relationship that Millennials and Gen Z’s have with nonprofits, and with giving, and it’s a trap because it’s not that simple. Yes, birth year defines what generation we’re in, but the changes in attitudes, not age, are what’s most important. So we’re going to spend the next couple of weeks talking through myths associated with this younger, different generation.
Adults of my age group, Gen X, tend to think that the younger generations lack a sense of obligation. They’re not as driven. They’re focused on their feelings in themselves, and that feels soft and gushy, I guess, to a group of people that is maybe a little more hardcore – that isn’t the right word, but I’ll just say driven. That drive has been replaced with an expectation of making an impact (the type of impact that your annual report doesn’t speak to). It’s a difference that they can feel in their heart and their bones that they’re bringing forth positive change. And when you think about it, isn’t that a better relationship to have with donors and volunteers? Than one of obligation? A connection with the heart of your audience trumps guilt or commitment. Just because it feels like the right thing to do. So continue to communicate about the impact of your donations and connect them to tangible actions. But that’s not really enough. Do more. Demonstrate the story around that action and not just the story of a single person who is now in a better position because of support from your organization, but the story of what the impact of solving this problem for our world means and how it makes the world better for everyone. That’s a much bigger story than what we tend to tell. Connect that possibility with the volunteers and the donors and the members of the Millennial and Gen Z generation. Do this well and you get a free gift, because by positioning your organization in this way, you get to speak to all generations. No one will be offended. Everyone will be drawn forward by this type of thinking because it’s personal.